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Articles Fitness Nutrition

What Is a Calf Stretcher?

It may not be one of the first pieces of gear you think of for a home gym, but many runners and other fitness enthusiasts include a calf stretcher in their fitness arsenal. They use it more as a therapeutic aid than a conventional workout tool, although it does tone certain muscle groups. The calf stretcher is a simple tool that helps work and strengthen the calf muscles in the back of the lower leg. Runners, athletes and power workout participants use these to help prevent injuries like planter fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. Their use is common in many places where professional trainers provide clients with what they need to train up in an injury-free environment.

Types of Calf Stretchers

Calf stretchers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One common type is a simple bar stretcher. The user steps onto a horizontal bar and moves up onto the toes, then down onto the backs of the feet, stretching the calf muscles. The bar stretcher is often adjustable to provide for more customized activity.

Another type of calf stretcher is the curved stretcher model. This is a semi-circular piece with a kind of stirrup on top for the shoe of the user. Curved stretchers allow for an extended range of motion.

Then there's the angled stretcher. This is an even simpler piece, where an angled platform lets the participant do their own stretching by standing on the platform facing the incline, and slowly raising or lowering the body.

These tools are widely available, and sometimes also sold as yoga props or light resistance tools. You may also see forms of a calf stretcher in a public gym or health club.

More about Using Calf Stretchers

Not all fitness participants might think about it, but stretching the calf muscles can be extremely useful for almost all intense physical activity. Runners put a great deal of pressure on these muscle groups, and in running, the calves help mediate the pressure on the lower joints and feet. In other athletic activities, the calf muscles help provide the explosive actions needed for initiating running and jumping activities. That's why so many athletes use calf stretchers or other calf stretching methods to make sure that these muscles are loose and flexible.

Calf stretchers don't take up a whole lot of space, and they're easy to include in a home gym area or fitness tool kit. If you have any concern about the state of your leg muscles, it might be a good idea to look at using a calf stretcher to improve lower body strength and help mediate the pounding that your joints and muscles take in running and similar activities. Don't neglect these areas of the body, especially if you regularly run or train on hard surfaces. Improving your calves and other muscle areas can help you prevent a lot of wear on your joints, bones and muscles for better fitness results over time.

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