5 Ways to Stretch Your Calves (a Must For Runners and Heel-Wearers!)
The calves are one of the most overused and overlooked muscles in the body| and if you wear heels| run regularly| or both| stretching your calves is a must| since tight| shortened calves can lead to injury. These five calf stretches can be done almost anywhere| so click through to learn how to do them and then add these stretches to your daily routine!
| Wall Calf Stretch
This is a classic calf stretch that you can do just about anywhere.
- Stand a little less than arm’s distance from the wall.
- Step your left leg forward and your right leg back| keeping your feet parallel.
- Bend your left knee and press through your right heel.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and switch legs.
| Wall or Curb Stretch
This is one of the easiest stretches to do as soon as you finish a run. If you have weak Achilles tendons| do the variation using a wall instead of a ledge.
- Find a wall and stand a few inches away. With one foot| put your toes on the wall| keeping your heel on the floor| and flex.
- Hold for about 10-15 seconds| then alternate with your other foot.
- You can also do this stretch using a curb or step and hanging your heels off the ledge.
| Seated Calf Stretch
This is a simple way to stretch your calves while sitting.
- Sit comfortably on the floor. If the backs of your legs are really tight and you find yourself slumping| sit on a pillow so you can keep your spine straight.
- Fold your right leg in and reach your left leg long.
- Wrap a yoga strap or Theraband (or an old tie or belt from your bathrobe) around the ball of your left foot.
- Use the strap to pull your toes toward your head.
- Do not jam your knee into the floor and keep your left heel on the ground.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat of the other side.
| Downward Facing Dog
This basic yoga pose is a great calf stretch.
- Begin in a plank pose with your hands under your shoulders then lift your pelvis up making a “V”” with your body. Spread your fingers wide.
- Work on bringing your heels toward the ground.
- Allow your heels to flare out slightly wider than your toes
- Reach your sits bones| on the bottom of your pelvis| high to the ceiling to increase the stretch.
- To deepen the stretch in your calves| try treading lightly by pressing down on one foot while bending your other leg (as shown). Hold a few seconds per leg and then switch.
- Hold or alternate your feet for a total of 30 seconds.
- You can increase your stretch even more by lifting up one leg into Three-Legged Dog.
| Calf and Shoulder Stretch at the Wall
This stretch is a great multitasking stretch that opens the shoulders as well as the calves.
- Stand in front of a wall with your feet together. Place your hands on the wall shoulder-width apart.
- Rock your weight back on your heels without locking your knees| so your toes get pulled off the ground. Reach your bum out as far as you can by lengthening through your spine. Tuck your chin to feel a deep stretch in the back of your neck.
- Stay here for thirty seconds and then shift your weight forward| placing your toes back on the ground.