Here are the best calf stretches for runners who always have aching calves.
The calves are one of the most hardworking muscles for runners, yet they sometimes get overlooked during cool-down stretching. Give them some TLC by doing these deep calf stretches post-run. You’ll lengthen those muscles, and help them get stronger and more flexible to power you through future runs.
Downward dog with flexed feet
Doing a normal downward dog stretches your hamstrings and calves, but by flexing your feet, you will be able to lift your hips higher and straighten your legs. This helps to give you a deeper calf stretch.
Start on your hands and knees. Use your leg muscles to lift your knees off the floor. Lift your hips up and back to straighten your arms. Try to straighten your knees. Engage your inner thighs by grounding your feet while you lift the arch up. Your thighs will turn out slightly. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
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Forward fold with a bind
You can stretch your upper back, lower back, hamstrings, or calves in a forward fold, depending on how you do it. To target your calves, lean forward more to push your weight into your toes, giving your calves more space to stretch.
Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward and grab the back of your ankles. Pull your body towards your legs. If you can, clasp your hands together or grab onto alternate elbows. Keep leaning forward without lifting your heels. You can do this while seated as well. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
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It can be hard to stretch your calves when you are seated or standing because there is insufficient space to really elongate the muscle. The lizard pose helps because you use your body weight to bring your leg forward, while driving your heel backwards to lengthen your calf.
Start in a downward dog pose. Bring your right foot between your hands. Lift your body up and support yourself with your fingertips and legs. Lift your hips to keep it in line with your right knee. Keep reaching your left heel up and back. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat with left foot forward.
Foot flex with a wall
Lifting your toes in a foot flex creates a deeper stretch in the calves.
Stand facing a wall. Place your right foot on the wall with your heel on the floor, slightly away from the wall. Flex your foot and straighten your knee. Push your toes into the wall as you lean your body forward. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side.
(Also read: Best Floor Stretches For Runners with Tight Muscles)