My calves are yet again displeased with me. Ever since I ran the 8 km race two weekends ago, they have been super duper tight. And I woke up with a charley horse in my calf at about 4:30 this morning1.
After my long run on Saturday, I had a massage. I told my massage therapist about my unhappy calves and she worked them over pretty good. To the point that they’ve been super achy – like the kind of ache you have after a really good workout – for the past two days. And, like the last massage therapist that I had work over my calves, she commented on how ridiculously tight my soleus muscles are. “Your gastrocnemius muscles are fine, but your soleus muscles are TIGHT!”
For the uninitiated, the soleus muscle is this one:
Now, the first massage therapist had given me a standing stretch to do that will stretch out the soleus. But this massage therapist told me, “I have a great stretch you can do while sitting at your desk!” Well, you know how I feel about multi-tasking my stretches!
To do the stretch, you just take off your shoes and sit in your chair with your knees bent like normal, but you put your toes up on a book, making sure your heel touches the floor, like this:
It doesn’t look like much, but it super duper helped my tight calves! Honestly, even after my massage on Saturday, I couldn’t get my toes up on a book that was half the size of the one in the above photo2 and still have my heels on the ground, but after a few ~5 minute rounds of this stretch at the office today I can now, as you see in the photo, do it just fine.
Of course, if all else fails, you can just go for some of this, which I found while searching Flickr for “soleus”:
- Funky picture of muscles of the lower leg was posted by Rob Swatski on Flickr.
- Soleus Wine picture was posted by J.P. Hussey on Flickr
- Photos of the stretch itself are all mine!