A Mobility Routine for Your Feet, Calves and Knees
  • November 20, 2016
  • Sunday can be a day of recharging, resting and recovering. And after a rough week in the gym, a lot of #sweatworking and one big nap, that’s exactly what I needed from today.

    I’ve been looking at my workouts a little differently lately, using them as an opportunity to completely unplug and manage a little bit of stress for 60 minutes. That’s due in part to the time with Hubs watched me struggle with headphone wires and check my emails repeatedly during a solo workout session. He gifted me some Bose Soundsport Wireless headphones, which have actually and unexpectedly changed everything.

    Now when I can’t make it to my favorite class, instead of running and emailing or doing a solo workout while catching up Instagram, I turn on a podcast and l don’t look my phone again until I’m done. I’m just there.

    This has actually led me being a lot more eager to run – the How I Built This, Material World and This American Life podcasts aren’t going to listen to themselves.

    More running, though, leads to tighter calves and IT bands, so I’ve been making time post-run to mobilize. This is my go-to mobility routine.

    Spend as much time as you want doing this, I generally spend about 15 minutes doing these movements:

    • Lacrosse ball feet
    • Calves on a foam roller
    • The top of the lateral gastrocnemeus (calf)
    • Peroneals on a foam roller
    • Hamstrings
    • IT bands
    • Downward dog
    • Foot stretch

    Here’s what they look like: 

    Keep in mind that all of these movements are meant for soft tissue, not bone. So avoid bones, OK?

    Lacrosse ball feet: While standing, place a lacrosse ball beneath your foot, rolling it back and forth starting under your arches and moving to your heel. Put as much or as little pressure as you need on the foot. Spend one to five minutes on each foot.

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    Calves on a foam roller: Start with one calf on the foam roller and your other foot crossed over your shin. Starting with your toes pointing straight up and the foam roller above your heel – roll from the bottom of the calf to the top, Then turn your toes in to roll the inside of your calf the same way. Finish by turning your toes out to roll the outside of your calf. Spend one to five minutes on each calf.

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    The top of the lateral gastrocnemeus (the muscle on the outside of your calf): Come into basically a side plank, stacking your shoulders, hips and heels and holding your bodyweight on your forearm. Put the foam roller beneath your knee in the soft tissue and roll up and down about two inches each way.

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    Peroneals on a foam roller: Place your foam roller under your right shin and cross your left foot over your right. Shift your weight onto the soft tissue on the outside of your shin. Roll from below your knee to above your ankle, staying clear of your shin bone. Spend one to two minutes on each side.

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    Hamstrings: with your foam roller behind your leg, roll from above your knee to below your glutes.

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    IT bands: Get back into your side plank position, with your shoulders stacked and your hips stacked. Place the foam roller above your knee. Roll from above your knee to below your hips avoiding your bones. Pause for a breath or two when you find a particularly tight spot. Stay on each side for one to five minutes.

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    Downward dog: Place your hands firmly on the floor, making your body into an inverted V as you drive your heels down towards the floor to  stretch your calves.

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    Foot stretch: Curl your toes under and sit onto your heels. This might be enough of a stretch for you, but if you need more, lean back. Spend five or six breaths here then repeat if you want to.

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    (Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)

    About Jeana Anderson Cohen

    Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of aSweatLife.com a destination for living your best life, with fitness as the catalyst. She's also the co-founder and head of strategy of the SweatWorking App. But before starting health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the first decade of her career, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience and her passion for wellness and SweatWorking was the natural evolution of that experience. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, hosting aSweatLife’s monthly #Sweatworking events, and - on the rare evening off - you may find her using her Personal Training certification to coach group fitness classes across Chicago.