Do you ever stop and give some thought to how much we take our bodies for granted? In particular; our calves. They have carried you through everything in your life, the good and the bad. Your whole body will be resting on them forever. So the least we can do is consider adding some calf stretches to our daily routine.
Your calf muscle consists of two main muscles – the gastrocnemius (larger muscle on the top) and soleus (smaller muscle underneath). They play an incredibly important role in stabilising our ankles and feet, which is vital for everyday walking and running. Low-impact calf stretches are remarkable for reducing the risk of injury, and consistent calf stretching has been proven to increase long-term flexibility.
Heel raises for Calf Stretches
Heel raises are great for strengtening the calf muscles. They help keep the hind foot elevated, which in turn, shortens the muscle and tendon. This decreases the load on the tendon when you walk or run and, as a result, helps minimise injury. The good thing about heel raises is that you can do them anywhere.
First, stand with your feet roughly 10 centimetres apart (or just your normal stance) and slowly raise both heels off the floor while ensuring your knees are kept straight. Hold for approximately 5 seconds, and then gradually lower your heels to the floor, returning to the starting position. You’ve just successfully completed a single heel raise! Now, repeat 10-15 times, several times a day.
Standing Gastrocnemius wall stretch
For this stretch, you may need a wall. Actually, you will need a wall. Once you have procured said wall, stand facing the wall and the desired leg to be stretched, step it behind you. Toes need to be facing forward, towards the wall. Keep your back knee straight and lunge your front leg forward so you can feel the back calf muscle stretch.
Now, where does the wall come into play? As you are in the lunge position, place your hands on the wall to brace yourself. This will help create a deeper stretch. Hold for 30-40 seconds and repeat four times.
Toes on the wall calf stretches
Walls are your best friend for calf stretches. To perform this stretch, stand in front of your desired wall, and bring one
foot as close to the wall as possible. Toes should be on the wall and your heels on the floor. Your other foot should be a step behind. Put all your weight into your front foot, and soon you will be feeling the stretch along the lower section of your front leg. Placing your palms directly in front of the wall will help support you.
After 10 seconds, switch feet and stretch for another 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise for 5 repetitions. Doing this exercise long term, several times a day is a great way to keep your calves feeling limber and help to prevent tightness.
It is especially important to stretch our calves before any physical activity. However, it doesn’t hurt to spontaneously spring out some stretches during the day, whether it be while you’re waiting for the kettle to come to a boil at work or before you end the day with some sleep. So what are you waiting for?
A good start in stretching is the stretching program Hyperbolic Stretching by Alex Larsson. This video course covers
different types of stretces in 8 minutes workout exercises. If you are interested then click here to buy the Hyperbolic Stretching program. The price is only 30 dollar and you will have life time access.