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Essential exercises to stretch your calves

23rd April 2018 Print
Warming up

Your calves are some of the overworked muscles in your body and for those of us that exercise regularly it’s not uncommon to experience tightness and shortening. For that reason, it’s important to stretch these muscles regularly to avoid any injury. 

Here are some of the best stretches that you can do almost anywhere, at almost any time whether you’re warming up for bootcamp or yoga. 

Wall calf stretch

This is by far one of the easiest stretches to do, and you can do it on any wall or ledge. 

- Start by standing a few inches away from a wall. Then, with one foot, put your toes on the wall, keep your heel on the floor and flex. 

- Hold this position for around 10-15 seconds before alternating with the other foot. 

Top tip: if you have weak Achilles tendons it’s best to do this stretch on a wall rather than a ledge. 

Seated calf stretch with resistance band 

Using a resistance band will give you a chance to increase your range of motion.

- Sit on the floor and extend both of your legs. 

- Hold both sides of a resistance band and loop it around one of your feet. 

- Gently pull your toes toward your shin so that you can feel a stretch in your calf. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds before repeating on the other side. 

Top tip: if you don’t have a resistance band you can also use a towel or a yoga strap

Downward facing dog 

You might know it as a classic yoga pose, but the downward dog is a good way to stretch your calves as long as you press your heels firmly toward the ground. 

- Begin in a high plank making sure that your hands are directly under your shoulders. 

- Press through your fingers and palms and shift your weight back to bring your rear up toward the ceiling. Your body should be in an inverted V position. 

- Press your heels toward the floor as much as you can. The more you push, the better the stretch will be on your calf muscles. 

Top tip: bending your knees slightly will allow you to stretch even further 

Heel drop stretch

To do this stretch correctly, you’ll need a box or a step. 

- Start by standing with the balls of your feet on the edge of the box/step. 

- Then, drop one heel toward the floor and bend your other leg while trying not to put too much weight on it. 

- Repeat on the other side. 

Top tip: slowly pedalling your heels back and forth or dropping both heels toward the ground and raising them up and down will make this a much more dynamic stretch.

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Warming up