The calf stretcher is generally a simple machine that many different types of users take advantage of for developing this dual muscle group in the lower leg. Athletes, bodybuilders and many others use a calf stretcher or similar tool to work the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles that make up the calf muscle group. Here are 5 reasons why this kind of training is so popular for a wide range of participants.
- A Component of Sports Massage - Calf stretching loosens up these lower leg muscles. Sports medicine professionals often recommend it as part of sports massage for keeping the lower body flexible and promoting agility. In this respect, stretching the calves is a lot like stretching other muscle groups in the limbs.
- Eliminating Calf Cramps - Some people have problems with specific muscle cramping. This can occur in the calf and cause a lot of pain. Stretching is one way to reduce or eliminate the risk of getting calf cramps in any activity.
- Specific Contact Sports - Some athletes involved in specific sports put a lot of wear on their calves, for example, during the routine lower body work practiced in soccer, field hockey or related sports. Stretching the calves helps develop the lower body to deal with these challenges.
- Use in Progressive Muscle Training - In the world of weight training and muscle strength training, there are some new theories gaining ground about how to effectively ramp up body capacity. Some of these have to do with lower body muscle groups like the calves. Some trainers take questions about why a particular individual's calf muscles seem underdeveloped. Some of this, according to many fitness specialists, is genetic. However, in some cases, it's possible to train up to more developed calf areas. One popular recommendation for training the calves is to vary the training schedule with progressive sets. A trainer who is looking at "eccentric muscle training" may recommend specific increases in a schedule that can put extra pressure on those areas of the body. This is another scenario where calf stretching can come in handy. By loosening those muscle groups and making them more flexible, the fitness participant is gaining more of a chance of being able to take advantage of eccentric muscle training without hitting a wall caused by tight muscles.
- Running - Another situation where someone might want to do calf stretches is in preparing for longer running sessions such as marathons. Calf stretching can be a component of balancing out the calf muscle group with the shins, and helping with comprehensive support for long-term lower body activities.
All of these are reasons why calf stretching is included in many training programs and in many gyms and health clubs. Take some time to study the effects of this kind of stretching work, and look at how it may fit into your regimen, either in relation to weighted calf training, or even a set of unrelated exercises. Whether it's for a specific contact sport, general therapy, or other uses, calf stretching can be a way to train up your legs for handling more activity over time.