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 StretchThis 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 StretchThis 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 StretchThis 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 DogThis 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 WallThis 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.