Do these stretching exercises to ease that tight, nagging feeling in your calves.
You might not know it, but you use your calf muscles all the time – walking, running or even tiptoeing to grab that box of cereal at the top of the shelf. Each time your heels are lifted off the ground, your calf muscles are activated. Often, many forgo the importance of stretching out tight calf muscles. The taut muscles restrict your range of motion, which will in turn affect your running stride.
The calf muscles connect from your knee to the bottom of your heel. Tight calf muscles may lead you to experience aches and pains in other parts of your body. So don’t skip these calf exercises after your run. They will go a long way to loosen up your legs for the next run.
Start in plank position with forearms on the ground. Position elbows directly under shoulders. Arms should be shoulder-width apart. Press your palms firmly into ground and push your butt back, shifting your weight back. Your butt should be facing up and your body in a V shape. Your heels should be flat on the ground. Move your legs further back if you find it difficult to do so. Repeat until you feel your calf muscles loosen.
Seated Calf Stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs together, extended. With toes flexed, reach for your toes and hold for 30 seconds. Make sure your back is straight, bending at the hips. Tip: If your calf muscles are too tight, loop a towel or resistance band around your toes to increase your range of motion.
(Also read: 12 Best Cool-Down Exercises To Do After Any Workout)
Lunge Calf Stretch
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, step one foot back such that you are in a lunge position. Bend your front leg, and straighten your back leg. Place both hands on your waist for support and press your back heel onto the ground. Bend back leg slightly to stretch your lower calf. Hold for 30 seconds, before switching sides.
Heel Drop Stretch
Find an elevated platform to do this exercise. Stand on the balls of your feet at the edge of the step. Drop one heel towards the floor, holding the stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step one leg forward, with only your heel on the ground. Bend your back leg and shift weight to it. Bend forward from the hips and reach towards front leg with both hands, in a scooping motion. Return to starting position. Alternate between both legs, doing 15 reps on each side.