Knowing how to stretch your calves is crucial for runners and all types of athletes. A strained or sore calf muscle can make running and even walking unbearable. Here's how to stretch your calf muscles properly.
1) Find a Wall
The most common calf muscle stretch requires that you lean on a wall. You can extend your arms in front of you and press against the wall with your palms, or you can fold your arms and lean on your forearms, if you like, for a deeper stretch of the calf muscle.
2) Stretch Your Calf Muscles One at a Time
You'll need to stretch your calf muscles one at a time. Place one leg before you and bend the knee. Hold the other leg straight behind you. Keep the heel of the rear foot pressed into the ground, and distribute your weight evenly between both feet.
3) Use Your Hips to Move into the Stretch
To stretch your calf muscle, you'll need to move forward into the stretch from your hips. Shift your pelvis gently forward, toward the wall, and slightly down, until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of the rear leg.
4) Hold the Stretch
You'll need to hold the stretch for at least 15 seconds to see any benefits. Preferably, you should hold the stretch for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Because it can be difficult to time yourself when stretching, you may want to count out 20 to 30 deep breaths instead of attempting to watch a clock.
5) Repeat the Stretch
You'll want to stretch the calf muscles of both legs. You'll also want to repeat these calf muscle stretches at least twice, holding the stretch in each calf for at least 20 seconds. Ideally, you should stretch each calf muscle three times, holding the stretch for 30 seconds each time.