Calf work on the foam roller and therapy balls…and rolling with a 3 year old!

Today’s and tomorrow’s posts will be about the stretches/exercises I did at my foam rolling class last Thursday since I didn’t have time to post about them before I went away for the weekend.  Today’s will be for the calves and tomorrow’s will touch on glutes and hips.

But first, I need to show you this.  I brought my “evil” foam roller with me this past weekend and of course, once he saw Auntie Jane doing it, Jackson HAD to try himself.

And he loved it so much that he would “fight” me for a turn on it! (I’m the one videoing – while laughing hysterically…not great camera work!)

Anyway, last week, for half the class, we focused on calves…yup, I shudder at the thought. They don’t bother me when I’m running, but please don’t massage them, it hurts!! LOL!

So we started off using the foam roller and placed the roller first in one spot (blue line), did some work, and then in a second spot (red line) and did some more work. (sorry, it’s difficult taking a picture behind you so my legs aren’t even!!)

So you lay the foam roller across, where the blue line is and, sit back, placing as much weight as is comfortable (if you can’t breathe, you need to ease up!). If you need to, place your hands on the floor in front of you, or on yoga blocks (or a pile of books) in front of you to take some of the weight to make it bearable. Hold for 60 seconds (or longer). Then slowly, shift slightly from side to side so that you’re almost sliding the roller across your leg (but it doesn’t actually slide). If you feel a particularly tender/tight spot, hold it there to get it to release. Remember, breathe!. Here it is in a video, but I didn’t hold the positions for as long as you should – didn’t think you needed to watch a video of that!

And then you can slide the roller up to where the red line is. And do the same thing. I find it hard to keep the roller in place there (it wants to slip out) so I have to literally hold it with my hands.

Ok, so if all that weren’t nasty enough, we moved onto using the therapy balls. Last week, she used different ones (slightly larger) but you can use the smaller ones too – which I have in the pics below.

Place the ball in the middle of the “ball” of your calf (avoid putting it right up behind your knee – you risk damaging your ACL).

Slowly sit down on the ball – placing only the amount of weight that still allows you to breathe!

Hold it here for 60s (or longer) and then do the same as with the roller, shift your weight side to side so the ball is sliding over different fibers in your calf (if your calves are tight, it might feel like the ball is going over “speed bumps”). If you find a tender/tight spot, hold it there. I also, literally moved the ball to different locations in my calf that I couldn’t hit with simple weight shifting.  Again, place your hands in front of you on the floor or on blocks if you need to relieve some of the pressure. And once you’re finished one leg, switch the ball to the other if you don’t have two balls and weren’t able to do them at the same time, or don’t like doing them at the same time.

When you’re finished, slowly ease up (same for when you’re done the foam roller portion) and release your legs from this.  Then stretch our your calves doing whatever calf stretch you enjoy. In class we did the one where you lean into a wall with your legs out behind you.

Looks just like me, no? LOL!

And then we stretched more specifically the achilles but slightly bending one knee which lowers the stretch down into the achilles. Then repeated with the other leg.

Woke up to the sounds of rain this morning but it’s still warm so my run was awesome – 7 miles at an easy pace and got to wear shorts again!!  Gorgeous colours still on the trees.

Happy Wednesday!!

2 thoughts on “Calf work on the foam roller and therapy balls…and rolling with a 3 year old!

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