Because Your Calves Matter

Our calves are often overlooked in our training and stretching regimen, yet they are really important muscles that help us push off when we are walking, jumping, or running. The calves are key muscles that impact our ankles, knees and hips, and keeping them loose is a way to prevent injuries in our lower body. Stretching your calves is especially critical for runners, but because calf muscles are used in everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs, everyone should try to keep them strong and flexible.

Stretching your calves is pretty simple, and there are a few ways to do it. Essentially, any position that elongates your muscles will provide a stretch. For example, the downward dog yoga pose stretches your calves (among other things), and you can peddle out your feet (lift and lower your heels) in the downward dog position to get more of a dynamic stretch.

Some other fundamental stretches are:

Stand on a ledge with the ball of your foot resting on the surface, like a curb or the edge of a step, and let your heel hacalf_stretch_wallng down. You’ll feel a stretch as your calf muscles lengthen.

You can also do this using a wall to lengthen the muscle.. 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. If you have a weak achilles, using the wall is a better choice.

 

Finally, for calf-stretcha gentle stretch, Stand a little less than arm’s distance from the wall. Step one forward and the other leg back, keeping both your feet pointed forward.Bend your front knee and press through your back heel.

We recommend you hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds and switch legs. If you have more time, try staying in the stretch for 60-90 seconds.

Happy stretching. Your calves will thank you.

 

lorri sulpizio

About lorri sulpizio

Lorri is a former college-basketball coach and personal trainer, turned leadership professional. She is Director of the Leadership Institute at the University of San Diego and principal consultant at Lotus Leadership Institute. She loves anything fitness, reading and spending time with her kids and family.