The calf muscles, which consist of gastrocnemius muscle and soleus muscle, play a vital role in helping you make a forward movement while walking and running. Apart from that, they make it easier for you to jump or carry out other physical activities.
Having strong calf muscle can strengthen your ability to carry out physical activities. You can improve your calf muscles by sticking to stretching and strength building moves. However, if you do not know what to include in your workouts or what to leave, then you should take the assistance of an experienced fitness trainer, who is well aware of muscle building moves.
Your fitness trainer will teach you all the essential moves that will help you build strong calf muscles. Strong calf muscles and ankles are highly crucial for everyone who indulges in intense physical activities such as runners, footballers, and tennis players, etc.
If you are struggling with a calf muscle condition, then you should take the assistance of a physical therapist to cure it.
Given below are common calf muscle problems for which you can seek the assistance of a physical therapist.
It occurs when you stretch a calf muscle more than its normal limit, which ends up injuring it. A calf strain, where the injury occurs to calf muscle fibers, can result in severe to mild pain.
When you tear your calf muscle fully or partially due to a strain, it is known as a calf muscle tear. It occurs when you injure your calf severely while carrying out a physical activity.
If you are experiencing severe pain in your calf muscle which is preventing you from carrying out physical activities, then you might be struggling with a calf rupture, which is nothing but a severe injury to calf muscle which reduces it to a lump.
Rhabdomyolysis is nothing but a condition where an injured muscle breaks down extremely fast resulting in pain, weakness, and vomiting. When it happens, it releases a dangerous protein into your blood, which can have severe consequences for your health.
Your therapist will include therapeutic exercises in your care plan to strengthen your calf muscles and enhance the range of motion. They might also incorporate dry needling and manual therapy to relieve calf muscle pain and to speed up the healing process.
Your therapist may use soft tissue massage (an integral part of manual therapy)to relieve your pain and make you feel better.
According to Achieve Therapy and Fitness, soft tissue massage, which focuses on muscles ligaments, and tendons, helps in healing injured muscles while promoting the overall wellbeing of a person.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best exercises that can help you strengthen your calf muscles.
If you want to strengthen your calf muscles and increase your ankle mobility, then the knee-to-wall test is one of the best stretching exercises for you. To perform this exercise, you have to stand in front of the wall keeping your face towards it. After that, bend one of your knees and touch the floor with it while stretching your lower leg backside.
Make sure that your heel faces the ceiling while your finger pushes the floor. After that, bend your other knee while keeping your foot flat on the floor. It means one of your knees will touch the floor while the other will try to reach the wall.
Once you touch the wall with your knee, you can get back to your normal position, and then repeat the process with your other knee.
Seated Toe Raises
If you want to grow your calf muscles further, you must include seated toe raises in your workout plan. To perform this exercise, you need a chair. So, once you place the chair in a comfortable place, sit on it while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Then try to lift your heels off the ground with the support of your toes. Hold this position for at least 10-to-15 seconds, and then repeat it 10-times.
Standing Toe Raises
This exercise is quite similar to seated toe raises, apart from the fact that you do not need any chair to perform it. All you have to do is stand straight with your feet flat on the floor. Then raise your heels slowly off the ground with the support of your toes, and hold this position for at least five to six seconds.
You have to push your toes to the floor to lift your heels.
It’s an essential skipping exercise where you use your toes to land on the ground, rather than your feet. If you are new to it, you should try to perform it in small sets in the beginning; you can increase both your time limit and speed gradually.
For example, in the beginning, you can perform five sets of 15 seconds, and later on, you can increase it as per your convenience.
Apart from that, you can also perform leg press calf raises, box jumps, and jump squats to tone your calf muscles.