How to Give a Sports Massage to My Calves
A pre-event sports massage will help warm up your muscles and get you primed for athletic performance. These massages are easy to self-administer. If you are going to perform any athletic activity that involves the muscles of the leg, from running to swimming to biking, a three- to five-minute massage is all you need to get each of your calf muscles ready for action.
Compress your calf muscle with the heel of your hand. Work your hand systematically over the muscle so that you cover every inch of its surface area. After you address the entire muscle, you can go back over it with more vigorous compressions, this time using a fist. This brings blood to the tissue and primes it for athletic activity.
Ball your hand into a fist and use it to tap or beat the calf muscle. This technique is known as tapotement and will invigorate the nerves and muscle tissue. Address the calf from both sides by using both of your hands simultaneously.
Knead any sore or tender spots with your fingertips. When performing a pre-event sports massage, you don’t want the work to be too deep. Use your fingers to work into the tender spots with small circular motions. Work it for a few seconds to break up any muscle adhesions in the tissue – this will decrease the risk of injury during your sporting event.
Stretch the calf by stepping the targeted leg behind you and trying to plant your heel on the ground. To stabilize yourself, place your palms against a wall or firm surface so you can create the leverage necessary to lean into the stretch. This will further loosen and relax the muscles after your massage.
Repeat these steps on the opposite leg. If you only have a limited amount of time before your event, concentrate on the leg that is tight but be sure to perform a truncated version of the massage on the opposite leg so that both limbs are sufficiently warmed up.
You don't have to perform a sports massage on a bare calf for it to be effective. If you are wearing loose training pants or a uniform for your event, just perform the above steps over your clothing.
If you’ve recently injured your calf muscle, these massage techniques can disrupt the healing process. Talk to your doctor before administering any sports massage.
- You don't have to perform a sports massage on a bare calf for it to be effective. If you are wearing loose training pants or a uniform for your event, just perform the above steps over your clothing.
- If you’ve recently injured your calf muscle, these massage techniques can disrupt the healing process. Talk to your doctor before administering any sports massage.
James Mulcahy is a New York City-based licensed massage therapist with more than 1,500 hours of training in anatomy, myology and pathology. He currently works as a freelance writer and has contributed to Huffington Post, New York Press, British Airway’s High Life, Metromix and many other publications.