5 Calf Muscle Stretches You Must Include In Your Routine

By March 22, 2021No Comments
calf muscle stretches

What are the calf muscle stretches that you need in your training routine? Read on to find out.

It’s no secret that maintaining your leg muscles will improve your overall performance as a runner. Before we begin, we want you to take a pause and think about the muscles you are targeting during your training – are you only focusing on the big muscles like quads and hamstrings, or are you also looking at the supporting muscles like glutes, ankles and calves?

In this article, we will focus on your calf muscles only – the important group of muscles that simultaneously act as the brake and the gas pedals on your runs. Don’t believe us? The next time you are out for a run try picking up speed all of a sudden, or try slowing down during a descent. Where do you feel the power coming from? That’s right, it’s your calf muscles that are working their magic.

Strong calves give you more power, and ultimately a better running form. If your calf muscles are not strong enough, you’ll find yourself suffering from hamstring or hip problems, calf strains, shin splints, even Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. They can even lead to pains in other parts of your body, especially your lower back.

Tight calf muscles are usually developed due to insufficient stretching, or overactivity. The good news is that with massages and regular stretches, it is quite possible to release the tension in the calf muscles, and improve your overall performance as a runner.

Runner’s Stretch

Aim: This stretch directly works on the calves, and releases any tension that might have built up from the impact. Great to practice after running, skipping and exercises that involve jumps.

How to:

1. Face a wall, and bring the heel of your one foot close to it.
2. Keep the rear knee straight, and the foot of the back leg on the floor.
3. Slowly lean towards the wall by extending only your chest.
4. Hold for 30 seconds.
5. Repeat with the other leg.

Downward Facing Dog

Aim: This stretch is good for your calves, as well as hamstrings. It also opens up the shoulders and ankles.

How to:

1. Get down on your knees, with your hands on the floor. Ensure that the wrists are directly under the shoulders, and knees under the hips.
2. Push back your hands to lift your hips, and slowly straighten your legs till your feet are placed flat on the ground.
3. Let your head hang down, and open up your back by moving shoulder blades away from each other.
4. Engage your quadriceps, lift one leg up and slowly raise it straight up behind you.
5. Keep your tailbone high, and sink your heels towards the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.
6. Exhale, and bring your leg back down to have both your feet flat on the floor again. Repeat with the other leg.

Seated Calf Stretch

Aim: To release the tension in the calves and hamstrings. It also helps open up the back muscles

How to:

1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
2. Slowly lean forward, point your toes towards your body, and hold your toes.
3. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Try keep your legs straight while doing this.
4. If this is too difficult, you can use a resistance band to reach your feet. All you have to do is put the band around the feet, and hold the ends of the band in your hands while slowly pulling them closer towards you.

Heel Drop Stretch

Aim: To open up the calf muscles, along with relieving any tension in the heels and hamstrings.

How To:

1. You’ll need a small box/edge of a treadmill/raised platform to perform this stretch.
2. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of your step.
3. Drop one heel towards the floor, while slightly bending the other leg.
4. Hold for 20 seconds.

Plantarflexion & Ankle Dorsiflexion

Aim: This stretch can help strengthen the calf muscles, providing better support for the lower leg, foot, and ankle.

How To: Dorsiflexion stretch

1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you
2. Wrap a band around one foot, holding the ends in your hands
3. Pull the toes toward the body, then slowly return them to the starting position
4. Repeat 10 times for each leg

Plantarflexion stretch

1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you.
2. Wrap the band around one foot, and hold the opposite end.
3. Point the toes forward, away from the body. Then slowly return to the starting position.
4. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

Protima Tiwary

Protima Tiwary

While she writes for a living, her ultimate goal is to workout in every corner of the world. Her idea of ‘me time’ is a good workout.

Leave a Comment