On today’s post I’ve got 3 quick videos showing you how to warm up those tight calves ready for a run! All you need is a stable object like a wall! I would perform these stretches after a pulse raiser (light jog for at least 4-5 minutes) just so the muscles get a bit warm. These simple stretches were very effective for my Ultramarathon training, almost instant relief sometimes!
Depending on the run or how I felt, I would spend 20-30 seconds on at least two of the stretches, maybe even all three! Sometimes on high mileage weeks or very hilly runs I would get some tightness in my calves which would irritate me. Just stopping for 20 seconds or so during the run to do one of these stretches would make a positive difference. These stretches would also benefit for those cycling or playing competitive sports like rugby, netball and football.
Dynamic Calf Warm Up Stretch
- Lean against a wall with knees straight and heels with heels on the floor.
- Create a straight line between shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.
- While maintaining this position, bend the L knee forwards, lift the L heel off the floor and bare weight onto the L toes.
- Once you’ve gone as far as you can, straighten the L knee to bring L heel down to the floor to create the stretch in the L calf.
- Once the L heel is on the floor, bend R knee forwards, bring R heel off the floor and bare the weight onto the R toes.
- Repeat for 20 seconds at a comfortable pace. If you don’t feel a stretch when placing the heels down to the floor, you may need to bring your feet further away from the wall.
Dynamic Gastrocnemius & Soleus Stretch
Let’s describe how to stretch the L leg as shown in the video to avoid confusion! It’s not that hard I promise!
- Get yourself into a normal calf stretch position with the L leg straight at the knee and behind you, with hips pushed forwards into the wall to create a stretch in the L calf.
- The R leg is the driver leg, to enable you to create the stretch in the L leg. So keep the R leg nice and free!
- Bring the R leg backwards beyond the L foot, at the same time bend the L knee forwards and lift the L heel off the floor. Keep your hips in the same position, or at least move them slightly forwards into the wall to create a stretch in the L calf/Achilles. Hold this position for a very short pause.
- Now you need to bring the R leg forwards towards the wall and back to the start position. At the same time straighten the L knee and bring the L heel back to the floor while moving hips slightly forwards. Hold this position for a short pause.
- You don’t need to perform this stretch fast just fast enough to gain a stretch, but not too fast that you get confused.
- To stretch the R leg, just do the opposite!
Multiplanar Dynamic Calf Stretch
Again, I’ll describe this stretch as shown in the video. This time the R calf is being stretched and the L leg is the driver leg.
- Position yourself into a normal calf stretch, with the R leg behind, straight at the knee and R heel on the floor. The heel will always stay on the floor during this stretch. Keep hips pushed forwards slightly to create the initial stretch in the R calf.
- Lift the L leg off the floor until the L knee is at hip height while maintaining the start position with the rest of your body.
- Move the L leg away from the body keeping the knee at hip height. You will be trying to move the L leg anti-clockwise while fixing the R heel onto the floor. The move the L leg back in front of your pelvis to start the stretch again.
- Keep this swinging motion with the L leg going, by doing this it rotates the pelvis and the upper R leg slightly creating a stretch across the R calf muscle. This will help target tighter areas around the inside or outside of your calf muscle.
- Just do the opposite to stretch the L leg!
I recommend these stretches to those experiencing tight calves, and it can benefit those with symptoms in their feet. I also recommend that you do not try this stretch if you have pain or have strained your calf muscle or Achilles tendon recently, you will probably aggravate the issue. As you can tell there is a lot of movement and strength required from other muscle groups, please approach these stretches with caution if you have pain elsewhere.
Let us know how you find these stretches, and feel free to share to your friends! It could be very handy for those training for marathon or other events in the future!