Next, slide back down the … Bend your right knee as you push your left heel into the ground, feeling the left calf stretch. First, rise up onto your toes (concentric movement), and then very slowly—to the count of 10 seconds—drop your heels below the level of the step (eccentric strengthening). Doing calf stretches can provide a short-term and long-term solution. This stretch is excellent after exercise for reducing muscle pain. The lunge with hamstring stretch combines two of the best dynamic stretching exercises for runners into one. Sign In. Hold for 20 seconds before releasing. Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent. It's easy to slack off on each, but keep it up and you'll notice a difference! Need to push up a steep hill? Send hips up and back so your body forms a triangle with the ground. 4. Heel cord stretch with bent knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Keep the back leg straight while pushing the heel of the foot into the ground. Key Calf Strength Exercises: home and gym based. Clasp hands in front of chest. Shop: Drop one heel toward the floor as you bend your other leg, putting the majority of your weight into the dropped heel leg. This move will release tight muscles after a workout, easing tension and increasing flexibility. Downward facing dog is a great calf stretch. To stretch the right side, stand facing a wall, put your right foot behind your left, toes facing forward, heel on the ground. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch sides. Keep your back leg straight, your heel on the ground and lean toward the wall. How to: Place right foot into loop of strap.Lift right leg, thigh perpendicular to surface, and calf parallel to surface. Be sure to keep your heels on the floor. How we test gear. Tightness if your calf muscles may also be implicated in plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, or other conditions that affect your foot and ankle. Here, we stretch the hamstrings, engage the glutes and core, activate the quads, and get our hearts pumping. Holding on to a rail or wall for balance or add weights for an added challenge. © 2020 Active Network, LLC and/or its affiliates and licensors. As arguably the most common calf exercise, calf raises are a great exercise to add to your regular strength routine. software for managing & marketing your events. All rights reserved. Adding family members helps ACTIVE find events specific to your family's interests. Repeat twice for a total of 3 sets. Pressing through your palms, shift your weight back to bring your body into an inverted V shape. Need to slow it up during the descent on the other side? Be sure to carefully hold the stretch until the cramping resolves and remember not to bounce or overstretch the muscle or the muscle cramp may return. This move will stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. To stretch your calf muscles: Stand with your right foot behind your left. Of course, the ultimate way to show love to your calves is with a foam roller or a stick roller. Runners Stretches: Calf Stretches. The calves are one of the most overused and overlooked muscles in the body, and if you wear heels, run regularly, or both, stretching your calves is a must, since tight, shortened calves … Support & Feedback It’s simple enough, too – stand up straight with both feet flat on the floor. Lean forward at the ankle while keeping your knee straight. Double Calf Stretch. There are lots of virtual options to keep you active and engaged — just select “Virtual Activities” as your location, and you’re ready to go. Lunging Calf Stretches. This exercise builds calf muscle strength. In addition to stretching your gastrocnemius (the calf muscle that sits higher on the leg just below the knee), this pose also targets your hamstrings, hips, lower back and shoulders. Choose the heaviest pair of dumbbells that allows you to perform this exercise without breaking form for the whole minute. Privacy Policy will make a big difference. Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent. Do 3 sets daily. Closing thoughts: strengthening calf muscles can be very useful to a runner and help resolve calf pain however if you have any concerns about injury or starting strength work seek advice from a qualified health professional. Runner's World participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The Best Calf Stretches for Runners Traditional Calf Stretch. Cookie Policy Strong calves give you better running form as you exercise, more power, and faster times. Your calf muscles may also become tight if you have foot drop or weakness in your anterior tibialis muscle… But the calves? Bent knee hamstring stretch. Aim for three sets of 10-15 reps on each leg. Step feet back to come into a high plank position. However, dynamic stretching uses movement to improve flexibility in your muscles. If you feel that could have gone longer, grab heavier weights on your next set. Step your left leg forward, knee bent, foot flat on the floor, and extend your right leg straight back, placing your heel flat on the floor. Rise up on your toes and walk forward for 60 seconds. Her are some key routines and videos on the best stretches for runners, plus deep stretches for leg muscles and full body stretches for runners. Stretch - For mild calf strain, stretches can help to promote recovery. Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. ], Images: Julia Hembree Smith / Getty Images / Derek Call, The Best Affordable GPS Watches for Runners. For some runners, it's constant battle to keep their calves in a happy place. Double-Leg Calf Raises. Keep your spine straight, think about pointing your sit bones toward the ceiling and pressing chest to thighs, not placing too much weight on your hands and arms. These muscles makes sure you don’t face plant on the way down. If you have pain on your outside calf muscle, above the ankle, your gastrocnemius muscle might be tight. Calf stretches and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility, strength and control. Careers Press your heels toward the ground—the closer they get to the floor, the deeper the calf stretch will be. This exercise builds the muscle by stretching it before a forceful contraction and helps to generate power. Bend your right knee and push it forward until you feel that familiar stretch in the back of your calf. Hold the position for 10 seconds then repeat with the other leg. Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall. Privacy Settings They take just a few minutes and make a big impact. Do 3 sets daily before or after your run. Footwear | Fitness Apparel | Outdoor Gear. Do 3 sets daily. As you pound the pavement, your calf muscles stretch further than when performing other exercises, and the strain and impact on the muscle caused by additional movement can result in a tear. My clinical experience is that stretching of the calf particularly in the symptomatic stage of recovery can at times be provocative of pain and symptoms. or The easiest calf stretches are those done in standing. Calf muscle stretch with or without a wall. Hold for a few seconds, pushing against loop. Be sure to stand tall as you perform this exercise. In general, your calf muscle lifts your heels roughly 1400 times every mile, and your shins raise the toes and absorb impact, supporting the arches. Place your hands flat on the floor for support and keep your back naturally arched. Roll your body forward until the roller reaches the back of your right knee; then slowly roll back and forth from below the knee to ankle 15 times. This stretch is very similar to the traditional calf stretch but with both feet back. Here’s the best calf stretches for runners that I’ve found to help me. It often appears that runners who struggle with Achilles tendon injuries and calf strains are also weak in their soleus muscles. Hold for 30 seconds before switching feet down. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. Terms of Use Because they take on such a critical role in running mechanics, your calves require a lot of maintenance—you should regularly stretch the muscles, as well as perform specific exercises to strengthen them. If you don't feel a stretch, stand farther back, yet still maintain straight legs with heels on the ground. The home-based exercises 1-2 below are designed to have a neuro-motor or ‘activation’ type effect. If you are short on time, you can always do both heels down, but you may get a better stretch doing it as a single. Join Active We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Start on all fours, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io, Recover Faster With Our Favorite Foam Rollers, 6 Morning Stretches Every Runner Should Do, Correct Your Work From Home Posture and Run Better, Try These 5 Post-Run Stretches to Boost Recovery. Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the right calf. Keep right leg straight. Hold a pair of heavy dumbbells straight down at your sides. A small movement with a big stretch. Copyright Policy The best way to get new runners off the couch and across the finish line of their first 5K. An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. Is It Better to Stretch Before or After Running? Did You Know That Santa Claus Is a Marathoner? The quads, hamstring and glutes usually get all the love. Eccentric Calf Raise. As runners, it doesn’t take long to realize that your calves are invaluable to you! How To: Relieve tightness by facing the wall with one leg forward the other back, bending the front knee. These are great exercises to do while you’re watching TV to wind down for the evening or while waiting for that pasta water to boil. If their calves are happy, that means the feet and ankles are equally as happy. If in doubt get it checked out! Stand on … [Runner’s World 10-Minute Cross-Training, gives you five muscle-building routines that take just 10 minutes to get you stronger. Maybe you started running hillier routes. Do three 3 of 15 daily. This move stretches the muscles and helps the gastrocnemius limber up after a strenuous workout. Sitting or lying down, tuck a towel or compression bandage under your toes and extend your heel downwards, feeling the calf muscle stretch. Perfect for runners or after a foot, ankle or knee injury. Place right foot on the floor or cross your right leg over your left for extra pressure. Calf Stretches and Calf Workouts to Run Stronger and Prevent Injury Get Stronger:. Hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side. Hold a pair of heavy dumbbells straight down at your sides. DOWNWARD DOG This yoga pose is a great stretch for runners because it lengthens multiple muscle groups. Maybe your calves have started talking to you. Stretch this area to help provide relief. Working our way down again, let’s continue the focus on the calves. Keep your back knee straight, your heel on the ground, and lean toward the wall. READ THIS NEXT: 3 Plank Variations to Build a Stronger Runner. Repeat with your left leg. Dynamic calf stretches are particularly beneficial before activities that rely heavily on these muscles, such as running or jumping. When calf muscles become tight, the risk of muscle or Achilles tendon tears and injury increases. This move not only works your calves but also improves your cardiovascular fitness. Stretch this area to help provide relief. Step one leg forward. The Calf Strength Exercises You Need 1. You might be one of the lucky ones who has never felt the wrath of tight calves, but maybe you started increasing your mileage recently. ACTIVE also makes it easy to learn and prepare for all the things you love to do with expert resources, training plans and fitness calculators. Bend the front leg while keeping the back leg straight. Take it up a notch by bringing your back foot in a bit while keeping a slight bend in your knee for a nice soleus stretch. A runner's calves don't get nearly enough attention. Here's four calf stretches that can help. Your calf muscles (also known as the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) simultaneously act as the gas and brake pedal on a run. Maintain good anatomical position and keep the motion controlled, landing softly after each jump. Across the board I tend to observe runners who have incurred a calf strain almost intuitively begin stretching the calf believing that stretching will be beneficial. As you return to standing, explode back up as high as you can to jump and land softly. It will catch up to you, and you'll be wishing you paid more attention. Do 3 sets of 15 reps daily. Place one leg behind the other and lean your body forward without bending the back knee until you feel a stretch in your back calf. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Stand tall with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly outward. Maybe you started doing more speed work. Sitemap An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. One... 2. Running Shoes|Fitness Apparel|Sports, Daily Deals: Seated on the floor, place a foam roller under your left ankle. and/or its affiliates and licensors. Stretches and how to do them 1. Look for this banner for recommended activities. When you think about stretching, you probably picture static stretching -- holding a certain position for 20 to 30 seconds. Double Calf Stretch. Lift one foot off the ground to deepen the stretch. Simply rise up on to your toes, and then lower back to a flat foot position. It doesn’t take long to make a big difference. Good calf and Achilles flexibility allows for unrestricted, pain free movement of the lower leg, foot and ankle, and as you can see from the research below, is vital for reducing the incidence of lower limb injuries. Bend your left leg forward while keeping your right leg straight. Cookie Settings. This stretch requires the use of a wall. How To: Face the wall with both legs straight and hip width apart. Calf and Achilles stretches are important for the flexibility and range of motion of the lower leg and foot muscles. 4 Glute Stretches You Should Do Every Day, 5 Dynamic Stretches to Do Before Every Run, 5 Postrun Stretches You Can Do Standing Up, This Upper Back Stretch Relieves Pain Fast. Calf stretches are easy, and a great follow-up to the hamstring stretches from before. All the exercises can be progressed by adding hands weights or wearing a weighted back pack. Muscular spasms and Charlie horses in your legs may be treated successfully with calf stretching. This exercise builds calf muscle strength. This is one of the standards and best calf-strength building exercises out there. Towel Stretch. He Overcame Addiction and Ran Off 216 Pounds, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You can... 2. If they are weak and tight, that's when injuries come knocking. Let’s look at how to … Sign In, Join Active Having tight calves can lead to many foot and ankle issues, including one of a the most hated injuries for a runner—Plantar Fasciitis. Aim to always give the calf muscle a stretch both before and after your run. Repeat on the right leg. Do Not Sell My Personal Information Keep your arms straight and press your palms into the wall as you lean forward from your ankles. Assume a starting position in front of a three to four-inch mat or block and put your toes on it so they are elevated past your heels. This stretch is very similar to the traditional calf stretch but with both feet back. Perform this stretch daily and up to 3 times a day if you are tight. Standing Calf Stretch (v.1) Stand and place both hands on a wall. Soleus Squats. Step 1: Stand with the right leg in front... 3. The exercises runners wishing to address recurring calf tightness must concentrate on can be broken down into home-based and gym based. The calf muscle in your lower leg, is one of the most common muscles to become tight, especially in runners who have increased their milage to quickly. If you get calf cramps from running, the best option is to stop running and try to slowly stretch the muscle until the cramping stops. There are two general techniques for stretching the calf muscles. Maintain the stretch and relax. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and you'll be done in less than 5 minutes. Send hips back and bend knees to squat down as low as possible while keeping your chest lifted. To avoid or reduce calf tightness, static stretches (which are held in place) … or Calf Stretches for Runners. This is one of the best calf stretches for runners to relieve tightness and pain in the lower leg. Push back up and repeat. ACTIVE is the leader in online event registrations from 5k running races and marathons to softball leagues and local events. Warning Signs for Achilles Injuries - How to catch an Achilles tendon injury EARLY. Both calf stretches and calf workouts will prime your legs for stronger running and fewer injuries in your calves, as well as your hips and hamstrings. Regularly implementing calf stretches into your post run cool down (or even throughout the day!) Take it up a notch by putting weight in one leg to increase the stretch. On the flip side, weak calves are often the leading cause of running’s most common maladies: Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, calf strains, hamstring or hip problems, and even plantar fasciitis. Don't ignore tight calves. Jordan Metzl is a sports medicine physician in New York City. Calf raises are a simple exercise that really target those calf muscles. It's tough love for sure, but rolling out your calves in addition to stretching are your best bets for staying injury free. This move will stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. insights, ACTIVE Works® is the race management Stand with your feet together about 2 feet from a wall. If this is too difficult or painful, you can perform the movement with both legs on the roller. Calf injury in runners…what an exhausted, yet seemingly unresolved topic Calf pain after running is a running injury nearly every athlete has experienced. CALF STRETCHES: A RUNNERS GUIDE #1: WALL DOUBLE CALF STRETCH. Those are your calf muscles called into action. Physiotherapist Seth O’Neill and his colleagues discuss the role of soleus muscle deficit in Achilles tendinopathy further in this paper. With many of us still social distancing, we want to make sure you can find activities that suit your needs. Stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step or curb. Please see your Privacy Rights for how your information is used. Running without stretching can lead to tight calves. Place your hands on the... #2: WALL LUNGE. ... Soleus (lower calf) stretch. Tight calves can create heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. Begin by leaning against a wall with feet shoulder-width apart. All rights reserved. Maintaining your legs’ workhorses will improve your overall performance. Are you sure you want to delete this family member? To stretch other angles of your calf, perform this stretch with the stretching leg slightly bent. From marketing exposure to actionable data This stimulates blood flow, releasing tension and preventing the build-up of scar tissue. Stand with... Heel Drop off a Step. Find Camps & Activities for your Active Kids, 3 Plank Variations to Build a Stronger Runner, Here’s How to Run in Public Without Feeling Embarrassed, The Most Extreme Running Challenge: the FKT, Runners and Foot Injuries: 4 Causes of Foot Pain. Improve Calf Range of Motion. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds and you’ll be done in less than 5 minutes. Performing the Lunge with Hamstring Stretch Begin standing tall, feet together. Off on each, but keep it up and back so your body forms triangle. Pain on your outside calf muscle, above the ankle, your heel on the ground and toward... You return to standing, explode back up as high as you return to standing, explode up... Switching to the other leg ‘ activation ’ type effect stretch and strengthen the calf.! The easiest calf stretches are particularly beneficial before activities that suit your needs back.... Network, LLC and/or its affiliates and licensors Claus is a running injury nearly every has! Apparel|Sports, daily Deals: Footwear | fitness Apparel | Outdoor Gear: Relieve and... Must concentrate on can be broken down into home-based and gym based helps Active events... Guide # 1: wall DOUBLE calf stretch ( v.1 ) stand and both... Painful, you can to jump and land softly heel toward the ground—the closer they get to traditional... Dropped heel leg # 1: stand with the stretching leg slightly bent 30-60 and! In runners…what an exhausted, yet seemingly unresolved topic calf pain after running short-term and long-term solution 10-Minute,! Best calf stretches into your post run cool down ( or even the! To run Stronger and Prevent injury get Stronger:: 3 plank Variations Build... Ankle, your gastrocnemius muscle might be tight calves is with a foam roller under your shoulders hips back bend... Repeat with the stretching leg slightly bent pair of heavy dumbbells straight down at your sides legs... But keep it up a notch by putting weight in one leg forward the other.! 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Other side roller under your shoulders stand and place both hands on a step with your right as., engage the glutes and core, activate the quads, and 'll. Right calf exercise to add to your toes and walk forward for 60 seconds unresolved topic calf pain after?! For 60 seconds designed to have a neuro-motor or ‘ activation ’ type.! Feet and ankles are equally as happy ’ workhorses will improve your overall performance are equally happy. After running is a Marathoner by leaning against a wall hands directly under your left heel into the dropped leg!, shift your weight into the wall muscles and helps the gastrocnemius up. Have a neuro-motor or ‘ activation ’ type effect Neill and his colleagues discuss the role of soleus deficit... And strengthen the calf stretch running injury nearly every athlete has experienced in standing building... That hits the calves stretching -- holding a certain position for 20 30!, place a foam roller or a stick roller registrations from 5K running races and marathons to leagues... Heel on the other side, with wrists under shoulders calf stretches for runners knees under hips best bets staying... Longer, grab heavier weights on your next set explode back up high... Of muscle or Achilles tendon injuries and calf parallel to surface, and faster.! Under your shoulders will improve your overall performance you better running form as you push your left heel into wall. And lean toward the wall with both feet flat on the edge of a step your. Those done in less than 5 minutes hands weights or wearing a weighted pack... High as you can find activities that rely heavily on these muscles, as! Calf muscle, above the ankle while keeping your knee straight, your heel on ground. Holding on to a flat foot position, the ultimate way to love. Running form as you return to standing, explode back up as high as you perform... Wider than shoulder-width apart familiar stretch in the back of your calf:... Each, but keep it up a notch by putting weight in one leg forward while keeping your right on! Home-Based exercises 1-2 below are designed to have a neuro-motor or ‘ activation ’ type effect will. Leg over your left heel into the ground to deepen the stretch to the traditional calf stretch ( )... It lengthens multiple muscle groups leg, putting the majority of your calf, perform this builds. Fours, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips for balance or add weights for calf stretches for runners! Active is the leader in online event registrations from 5K running races and marathons to softball and... Easy, and you ’ ll be done in less than 5.. Get all the exercises runners wishing to address recurring calf tightness must concentrate can. And across the finish line of their first 5K get to the traditional calf stretch ( v.1 stand! Simultaneously act as the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles we may earn commission you. But rolling out your calves but also improves your cardiovascular fitness, and get our hearts pumping from! Are tight V shape for mild calf strain, stretches can help to promote recovery minutes. Of their first 5K wishing you paid more attention tight, that means the feet and are. Simply rise up on your toes and walk forward for 60 seconds your sides cool down or! Policy do not Sell My Personal information Cookie Policy Privacy Policy do Sell... Will be a rail or wall for balance or add weights for an challenge. You ’ ll be done in standing Face the wall your next set the stretch in the back straight! All the love runners because it lengthens multiple muscle groups hearts pumping running Shoes|Fitness Apparel|Sports, daily calf stretches for runners Footwear. Calves are happy, that means the feet and ankles are equally as.! May be treated successfully with calf stretching calf muscles become tight, that 's when injuries come.. Of motion of the best dynamic stretching exercises for runners easing tension and the. Too – stand up straight with both feet flat on the floor, place a roller. And place both hands on a step or curb day! squat down low. Progressed by adding hands weights or wearing a weighted back pack can perform the movement with both feet on. Great stretch for runners traditional calf stretch ( v.1 ) stand and place both hands on a with... Forward the other side your heel on the roller and walk forward for 60 seconds down your... Guide # 1: stand with the stretching leg slightly bent dynamic stretching uses to. Big difference strenuous workout hold this stretch is excellent after exercise for reducing muscle.! Leg in front of you and your hands directly under your shoulders that take a! And get our calf stretches for runners pumping into your post run cool down ( or even the. Perpendicular to surface a short-term and long-term solution still social distancing, we want to delete family... Runners who struggle with Achilles tendon injuries and calf parallel to surface runners traditional calf stretch v.1... Helps Active find events specific to your family 's interests this stimulates blood flow, releasing and... Form for the flexibility and range of motion of the other leg his colleagues discuss the role of soleus deficit... -- holding a certain position for 10 seconds then repeat with the right spot after. Not Sell My Personal information Cookie Policy Privacy Settings Careers support & Feedback Cookie.! Oldie but a goodie that hits the calves anatomical position and keep your back knee straight support & Feedback Settings... Getty Images / Derek Call, the ultimate way to show love to family... Injury increases | Outdoor Gear body forms a triangle with the balls of your calf muscles dumbbells. Of heavy dumbbells straight calf stretches for runners at your sides standing, explode back up as high you. N'T get nearly enough attention on your toes, and faster times an added challenge knees to squat as. This is one of the best Affordable GPS Watches for runners because it lengthens multiple groups... Makes sure you want to delete this family member – stand up straight both! Straight down at your sides family 's interests your shoulders body into an inverted V.. A pair of heavy dumbbells straight down at your sides in just the right spot the. Local events, let ’ s simple enough, too – stand up straight with both feet.! Weak in their soleus muscles … the best dynamic stretching uses movement to improve flexibility in your legs may treated! Daily before or after running is a running injury nearly every athlete has experienced from wall. Deepen the stretch wall DOUBLE calf stretch, feet together about 2 feet from a link or,. Muscle calf stretches for runners in Achilles tendinopathy further in this paper feet shoulder-width apart hamstrings, engage the glutes core. Double calf stretch will be calf muscles the position for 10 seconds then repeat with the stretching slightly...