Massage Gun Calf Exercises
The calf muscles are one of the most important muscles in humans, as it supports the bulk of the body’s mass, while standing, squatting or walking. It is impossible to walk or move around without the calf muscles. So, if we do walk every day, which is almost likely to happen, then we utilize our calf muscles every day.
The calf muscle is located in the lower part of the legs, below the knee cap, and is made up of two muscles; the Gastrocnemius Muscle, which is the larger of the duo, and the Soleus, which is the smaller of the duo. This makes it inevitable for the calf muscles to experience some form of fatigue, soreness, or strain at some point.
In this article, we guide you on how to maintain your calf health, with the use of percussive therapy – and everything in between.
Why is Massage Therapy Important for Calf Muscles?
The gastrocnemius gives the calf its rounded shape and is made up of fast-twitch fibers (also called Type II fiber). The gastrocnemius is most important in jumping, which is very important for athletes like basketballers, volleyballers, cricket players, baseballers, wrestlers, and footballers.
Also, the gastrocnemius plays a key role in rapid movements like quick bursts of sprints, bouncing or hopping, running on a treadmill, and even exercycle (stationary exercise bike) drills.
These activities can lead to muscle fatigue and/or muscle pain in severe cases, which is why a message may be indispensable to the calf.
The other calf muscle – the soleus – is flatter and longer than the gastrocnemius, and is made up of slow-twitch fibers (Type I fiber). While the gastrocnemius is tweaked for speed and strength, the soleus is tweaked for endurance and support.
In fact, without the soleus muscle, one would fall face-flat at the slightest push. Both the gastrocnemius and the soleus merge at the lower end of the leg, the tough connective tissue at this end merges with the Achilles tendon, as they all ‘insert’ into the Calcaneus (the heel bone). By the way, the Achilles heel is not as weak as you would think, is just a myth – Greek mythology if you like.
Massage therapy of the calf is very important to dancers, circus performers, gymnasts, stuntmen, and stuntwomen, as this muscle plays a vital role in their bodies, and helps them maintain balance while performing or attempting stunts; a muscle spasm while performing a delicate stunt could prove fatal.
The soleus is also very important for suspension moves by choreographers, calisthenics, and ballet dancers. Legendary choreographer and dancer, Agnes de Mille, who masterminded the ballet masterpiece Fall River Legend, once famously remarked, ironically, on the importance of the calf muscle to dancers:
“A good education is usually harmful to a dancer. A good calf is better than a good head.”
– Agnes de Mille
Other importance of massage therapy to the calf muscles include:
- Atrophy (muscle degeneration) of the calf muscles can lead to weakness and lack of stamina and/or balance. Massage therapy through vibrational healing accelerates regeneration and rehabilitation of the calf muscles, particularly after long periods of inactivity or after muscle inflammation. Using the gun on your muscles can be very helpful before a workout session.
- The calf muscles are very important to locomotion, good mobility of the muscles and fascial tissues, enhanced by regular massage, makes weakened or fatigued tissues more stable in a short time, and accelerate muscle recovery.
- Increase in Blood Flow. With the deep tissue stimulation of massage guns, there is a =n increase in blood flow rates as the gun enhances the dilation of blood vessels and nerve receptors in the calf muscles.
- Muscle Recovery. Spasms are common with overuse of the calf muscles, as well as stiffness from intense workouts. These spasms or stiffness can also contribute to ischemia in the calf muscles where there is no sufficient supply of blood to the calf, this could end in painful spasms and/or muscle pain. Gliding a massage gun over the calf will help a great deal to prevent ischemia before and after workouts or physical activity.
How to Use a Massage Gun on Your Calf Muscle
- If you can, take off your shoes before using a massage gun on your calf muscles, or avoid standing on your toes during a massage. This is to ensure that there is no tension in the calf muscles.
- You should choose a comfortable posture, like sitting, with the knee arched slightly upwards.
- Ensure your cloth exposes the calf muscles barely or does not interfere significantly if covered.
- Gently glide the massage gun over your calf muscles, resting the gun on different sections of the gastrocnemius and soleus for about 30 seconds.
- Ensure that the back of the calf is not left out.
- Allow the gun stay for about a minute or two when you feel any area of tension or a knot.
- Avoid using the massage gun without supervised medical attention, if you have a medical implant or device.
- Do not use the massage gun on prosthetics area of joining, without professional medical supervision.
- Hammer heads of the massage gun are suitable for the flat muscles like the soleus, and round heads for rounded muscles like the gastrocnemius.
Calf pains are very common, and sometimes gives a dull, aching pain, often accompanied by tightness in the back of the lower leg. Sometimes, we might even feel the weakness of the leg or a tingling sensation in the calf, or numbness of the leg.
Calf muscle cramps are also common after intense or prolonged physical activity, which can be due to reduced blood circulation in the calf muscles and/or nutrients deficiency in the calf muscles.
Percussive therapy helps to improve muscle health by ensuring there is sufficient blood flow and adequate relaxation of blood vessels in the muscle when necessary, as well as fast healing of muscle soreness and stiffness, also helping the blood transport oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, when needed. With proper utilization, a massage gun is a milestone for muscle recovery and wellness of the calves.