4 Best Calf Stretches for Runners

4 Best Calf Stretches for Runners

The calves of a runner do not receive nearly enough attention. Quads, hamstrings, and glutes usually get all the love. But the calves? If they are weak and tight when injuries occur. For some runners, keeping their calves in a happy place is a constant battle. If their calves are happy, it means that the feet and ankles are equally happy. Having a tight calf can cause many foot and ankle problems, including the most hated injuries to a runner.

You may be one of those lucky people who have never felt the wrath of tight calves, but perhaps you have recently started increasing your mileage. You may have started doing high-speed work. You may have started walking down the hill. Maybe your calves have started talking to you. Do not ignore tight calves. It will catch you, and make you want to pay more attention.

Applying calf stretches to your post-run on a regular basis calms down (or even throughout the day!) Will bring a big change. There are four calves here that can help. Stop each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and you’ll be done in less than 5 minutes.

 

4 Best Calf Stretches for Runners

 

#1 Traditional Calf Stretch

 

 

Traditional Calf Stretch gif

 

An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. 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.

How To Do:

  1. Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent.
  2. Keep your back leg straight, your heel on the ground, and lean toward the wall.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

 

#2 Double Calf Stretch

 

This stretch is very similar to the traditional calf stretch but with both feet back.

How To do:

  1. Stand with your feet together about 2 feet from a wall.
  2. Keep your arms straight and press your palms into the wall as you lean forward from your ankles. Be sure to keep your heels on the floor.
  3. If you don’t feel a stretch, stand farther back, yet still, maintain straight legs with heels on the ground.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.

 

#3 Heel Drop off a Step

 

A small movement with a big stretch. 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.

How To do:

  1. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step or curb.
  2. Drop one heel toward the floor as you bend your other leg, putting the majority of your weight into the dropped heel leg.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

#4 Single Leg Downward Facing Dog

 

The downward-facing dog is a great calf stretch. Take it up a notch by putting weight in one leg to increase the stretch.

How To do:

  1. Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  2. Pressing through your palms, shift your weight back to bring your body into an inverted V shape.
  3. Press your heels toward the ground—the closer they get to the floor, the deeper the calf stretch will be.
  4. Lift one foot off the ground to deepen the stretch.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds before switching feet down.

Of course, the ultimate way to show love to your calves is with a foam roller or stick roller. It is tough love to be sure, but rolling your calves apart from stretching is your best bet to stay injury-free. It is easy to slack on each, but keep it up and you will see the difference!