Let’s face it, trying to work out with tight calf muscles suck.
Whether you are a sports athlete, long distance runner, CrossFit junkie or just someone who loves living a healthy lifestyle and staying fit, you need your calf muscles to be loose and feeling good to complete your workouts. When they are tight or incredibly sore, it can make things uncomfortable and affect your performance.
Even though we all know what it’s like to have to deal with calf cramps, calf strains or just overly sore calves, most people still don’t stretch their calves like they should. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s the most under stretched muscle in the body.
What’s crazy about the fact that most people don’t stretch their calf muscles like they should is that it’s the most utilized muscle in the body. Think about it, every time you take a step you are putting pressure on your calf muscles, and if they are tight, you are risking injury and increased soreness after workouts.
Due to the calf muscles being one of the most used muscles in the body, stretching your calves is very important. Keeping your calves stretched out and loose will not only help you prevent injury, but it will also help you perform well in whatever physical activity you choose to do.
So if you’re not sure of any good calf stretches, then look no further. Here is a list of 7 calf stretches so that you never have to deal with tight calves ever again.
Standing Calf Raises
You probably already know what a calf raise is, but I will tell you anyways. Start standing straight up with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
Once you are in position, raise up onto your toes as high as you can and hold for 3-5 seconds. Be sure to hold onto a chair or wall for balance as you stretch.
Repeat this process 8-10 times. If it seems too easy, try holding 45 pound weights in each hand as you do these.
Image Credit: Pop Sugar
For this stretch, you will get into a plank position with your elbows and feet on the ground.
After you are in position, push your right heel backwards and hold for 2-3 seconds.
Repeat the stretch with your left heel and hold for 2-3 seconds. Complete 8-10 repetitions with each leg before moving on to the next stretch.
Image Credit: The Aark
Standing Toe Up Achilles Stretch
For this stretch, you will be standing straight up facing a wall.
Place your hands on the wall around shoulder height and place your toes against the wall while the ball of your foot remains on the ground.
Lean forward and hold for 8-10 seconds. Repeat three times with each foot.
Image Credit: I Am Living It
Plantar Flexion Stretch
For this stretch, you will begin on your knees with your toes pointed outwards on the floor.
After you are in position, slowly begin to sit back on your heels by lowering your butt towards your feet. After you are low enough, sit down on your heels and hold for 5-8 seconds.
Repeat this exercise three times before moving on. You should feel this warm up stretch in your ankles as well as your calves.
Image Credit: I Run Far
There’s nothing like a good old fashioned downward dog to stretch your calves. For downward dog, you will begin by getting into a plank position, except your butt and lower back will be as high as you can get it with your fingers pointed outwards.
The key here is to have your heels completely on the ground, so be sure to stretch as far as you can and get the most out of it.
After your heels are as close as you can get them to the floor, hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds and repeat this jump rope warm-up stretch three times.
Image Credit: Get Healthy U
Heel Dip Stretch
For this stretch, you will need a box, brick or a very sturdy chair to stand on.
After you find something to stand on, step up on it with your right heel hanging off and your toes on the box. Your left foot can be completely on the box.
After you are in position, drop your right heel towards the ground and hold for 8-10 seconds. Switch position and stretch your left calf. Repeat this stretch three times with each calf.
Image Credit: I Love Bicycling
Seated Calf Stretch
For this stretch, you will start sitting down on the ground with your left leg fully extended out in front of you.
After this, use a resistance band, yoga strap or a belt to pull your toes towards your body.
Stretch as far as you can and hold for 8-10 seconds. Switch feet position and stretch your right calf. Repeat three times for each calf.
Image Credit: Pop Sugar
Benefits of Stretching Your Calves
Utilizing calf stretches on a regular basis can have a lot of benefits on your overall health. Not only does it help you prevent soreness and reduce the chance of injuries for your calves, but it also helps you prevent other forms of injuries such as shin splints.
Stretching your calves also will help you to increase circulation legs and get your blood flowing so that you are ready to go all out when it’s time to begin playing, running or working out. Remember to stretch your calves before you do any sort of physical exercise, and you will greatly reduce your chance of injury or unnecessary soreness.
And even if you do have some soreness in your calves after an intense workout, you can greatly reduce and rid yourself of the soreness much faster by stretching and massaging your calves with a foam roller.
What’s Your Favorite Calf Stretch?
Did we leave any good calf stretches off the list? Or undersell one of the calf stretches that’s on the list? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
We truly believe that a good calf stretch before physical exercise can solve a lot of problems that many people have during and after workouts. So if you are having calf pain and soreness, try these stretches and see your problems melt away.
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Another great way to build your calves and reduce the risk of injury to your calf muscles is to jump rope, so be sure to check out our jump rope workouts, and if you need a jump rope, we have those as well!