The exercises runners wishing to address recurring calf tightness must concentrate on can be broken down into home-based and gym based. Stand facing a wall with your arms straight in front of you and your hands flat against the wall. This stretch is very similar to the traditional calf stretch but with both feet back. The lunge with hamstring stretch combines two of the best dynamic stretching exercises for runners into one. Double Calf Stretch. This stretch requires the use of a wall. This stimulates blood flow, releasing tension and preventing the build-up of scar tissue. [Runner’s World 10-Minute Cross-Training, gives you five muscle-building routines that take just 10 minutes to get you stronger. Drop one heel toward the floor as you bend your other leg, putting the majority of your weight into the dropped heel leg. Stand on … 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. An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. There are two general techniques for stretching the calf muscles. Lean into the wall until you feel the stretch in the right calf. Hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side. 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. Calf muscle stretch with or without a wall. 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 … Stand on a step with your heels hanging off the edge. Physiotherapist Seth O’Neill and his colleagues discuss the role of soleus muscle deficit in Achilles tendinopathy further in this paper. How we test gear. Strong calves give you better running form as you exercise, more power, and faster times. Repeat on the right leg. This is one of the standards and best calf-strength building exercises out there. If you don't feel a stretch, stand farther back, yet still maintain straight legs with heels on the ground. Keep your arms straight and press your palms into the wall as you lean forward from your ankles. Maybe your calves have started talking to you. How To: Face the wall with both legs straight and hip width apart. 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. From marketing exposure to actionable data Support & Feedback 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. or Calf Stretches for Runners. Do 3 sets daily before or after your run. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, 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. When you think about stretching, you probably picture static stretching -- holding a certain position for 20 to 30 seconds. Stand tall with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned slightly outward. CALF STRETCHES: A RUNNERS GUIDE #1: WALL DOUBLE CALF STRETCH. Press your heels toward the ground—the closer they get to the floor, the deeper the calf stretch will be. Maybe you started running hillier routes. Tight calves can create heel pain due to plantar fasciitis. Calf and Achilles stretches are important for the flexibility and range of motion of the lower leg and foot muscles. Do Not Sell My Personal Information Soleus Squats. Stretch this area to help provide relief. Here's four calf stretches that can help. Careers 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. Here’s the best calf stretches for runners that I’ve found to help me. Maybe you started doing more speed work. Need to slow it up during the descent on the other side? Those are your calf muscles called into action. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. But the calves? 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. Calf stretches are easy, and a great follow-up to the hamstring stretches from before. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Aim for three sets of 10-15 reps on each leg. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds and you’ll be done in less than 5 minutes. Simply rise up on to your toes, and then lower back to a flat foot position. Regularly implementing calf stretches into your post run cool down (or even throughout the day!) The home-based exercises 1-2 below are designed to have a neuro-motor or ‘activation’ type effect. 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. Runners Stretches: Calf Stretches. 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. Need to push up a steep hill? Do three 3 of 15 daily. They take just a few minutes and make a big impact. However, dynamic stretching uses movement to improve flexibility in your muscles. Maintain the stretch and relax. Eccentric Calf Raise. This is one of the best calf stretches for runners to relieve tightness and pain in the lower leg. Perfect for runners or after a foot, ankle or knee injury. Privacy Policy Stand with... Heel Drop off a Step. Start on all fours, with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Downward facing dog is a great calf stretch. Sign In, Join Active Of course, the ultimate way to show love to your calves is with a foam roller or a stick roller. Copyright Policy Be sure to keep your heels on the floor. and/or its affiliates and licensors. Hold a pair of heavy dumbbells straight down at your sides. Calf Stretches and Calf Workouts to Run Stronger and Prevent Injury Get Stronger:. Having tight calves can lead to many foot and ankle issues, including one of a the most hated injuries for a runner—Plantar Fasciitis. 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. Repeat twice for a total of 3 sets. This exercise builds calf muscle strength. Bent knee hamstring stretch. Sign In. Privacy Settings As arguably the most common calf exercise, calf raises are a great exercise to add to your regular strength routine. An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. If their calves are happy, that means the feet and ankles are equally as happy. The Calf Strength Exercises You Need 1. How to: Place right foot into loop of strap.Lift right leg, thigh perpendicular to surface, and calf parallel to surface. If you feel that could have gone longer, grab heavier weights on your next set. Repeat with your left leg. This exercise builds the muscle by stretching it before a forceful contraction and helps to generate power. 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. To stretch other angles of your calf, perform this stretch with the stretching leg slightly bent. Jordan Metzl is a sports medicine physician in New York City. Please see your Privacy Rights for how your information is used. 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. It's tough love for sure, but rolling out your calves in addition to stretching are your best bets for staying injury free. 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. 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. Here, we stretch the hamstrings, engage the glutes and core, activate the quads, and get our hearts pumping. 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). It's easy to slack off on each, but keep it up and you'll notice a difference! It’s simple enough, too – stand up straight with both feet flat on the floor. Bend your right knee as you push your left heel into the ground, feeling the left calf stretch. Hold a pair of heavy dumbbells straight down at your sides. How To: Relieve tightness by facing the wall with one leg forward the other back, bending the front knee. Cookie Settings. It doesn’t take long to make a big difference. 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. It often appears that runners who struggle with Achilles tendon injuries and calf strains are also weak in their soleus muscles. Doing calf stretches can provide a short-term and long-term solution. To stretch the right side, stand facing a wall, put your right foot behind your left, toes facing forward, heel on the ground. 4. Perform this stretch daily and up to 3 times a day if you are tight. This move will stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. Hold for 20 seconds before releasing. Stand near a wall with one foot in front of the other, front knee slightly bent. Your calf muscles may also become tight if you have foot drop or weakness in your anterior tibialis muscle… 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. A runner's calves don't get nearly enough attention. Improve Calf Range of Motion. This exercise builds calf muscle strength. Towel Stretch. Choose the heaviest pair of dumbbells that allows you to perform this exercise without breaking form for the whole minute. Keep the back leg straight while pushing the heel of the foot into the ground. Take it up a notch by putting weight in one leg to increase the stretch. One... 2. Double-Leg Calf Raises. Step one leg forward. will make a big difference. software for managing & marketing your events. Tightness if your calf muscles may also be implicated in plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, or other conditions that affect your foot and ankle. Terms of Use This move will stretch and strengthen the calf muscles. Heel cord stretch with bent knee. Running Shoes|Fitness Apparel|Sports, Daily Deals: As runners, it doesn’t take long to realize that your calves are invaluable to you! Is It Better to Stretch Before or After Running? Join Active Send hips back and bend knees to squat down as low as possible while keeping your chest lifted. 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. Are you sure you want to delete this family member? Lean forward at the ankle while keeping your knee straight. Footwear | Fitness Apparel | Outdoor Gear. Push back up and repeat. If they are weak and tight, that's when injuries come knocking. To stretch your calf muscles: Stand with your right foot behind your left. Look for this banner for recommended activities. All the exercises can be progressed by adding hands weights or wearing a weighted back pack. As you return to standing, explode back up as high as you can to jump and land softly. Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. Begin by leaning against a wall with feet shoulder-width apart. 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. This move stretches the muscles and helps the gastrocnemius limber up after a strenuous workout. Did You Know That Santa Claus Is a Marathoner? 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. You can... 2. Send hips up and back so your body forms a triangle with the ground. Pressing through your palms, shift your weight back to bring your body into an inverted V shape. Maintain good anatomical position and keep the motion controlled, landing softly after each jump. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs. Place right foot on the floor or cross your right leg over your left for extra pressure. The Best Calf Stretches for Runners Traditional Calf Stretch. ... Soleus (lower calf) stretch. Warning Signs for Achilles Injuries - How to catch an Achilles tendon injury EARLY. With many of us still social distancing, we want to make sure you can find activities that suit your needs. 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. DOWNWARD DOG This yoga pose is a great stretch for runners because it lengthens multiple muscle groups. Keep right leg straight. Hold the position for 10 seconds then repeat with the other leg. Don't ignore tight calves. Double Calf Stretch. Keep your back knee straight, your heel on the ground, and lean toward the wall. Do 3 sets daily. Lunging Calf Stretches. READ THIS NEXT: 3 Plank Variations to Build a Stronger Runner. Keep your back leg straight, your heel on the ground and lean toward the wall. 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. The quads, hamstring and glutes usually get all the love. Running without stretching can lead to tight calves. Do 3 sets daily. Key Calf Strength Exercises: home and gym based. Be sure to stand tall as you perform this exercise. Calf stretches and strengthening exercises to improve flexibility, strength and control. Clasp hands in front of chest. Do 3 sets of 15 reps daily. 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. This move not only works your calves but also improves your cardiovascular fitness. Calf raises are a simple exercise that really target those calf muscles. ACTIVE is the leader in online event registrations from 5k running races and marathons to softball leagues and local events. Lift one foot off the ground to deepen the stretch. insights, ACTIVE Works® is the race management Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds, and you'll be done in less than 5 minutes. 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. or Place your hands on the... #2: WALL LUNGE. Hold for a few seconds, pushing against loop. ], Images: Julia Hembree Smith / Getty Images / Derek Call, The Best Affordable GPS Watches for Runners. 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. Next, slide back down the … To avoid or reduce calf tightness, static stretches (which are held in place) … These muscles makes sure you don’t face plant on the way down. This move will release tight muscles after a workout, easing tension and increasing flexibility. Step feet back to come into a high plank position. Hold for 30 seconds before switching feet down. Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. All rights reserved. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step or curb. Holding on to a rail or wall for balance or add weights for an added challenge. Dynamic calf stretches are particularly beneficial before activities that rely heavily on these muscles, such as running or jumping. Stretch - For mild calf strain, stretches can help to promote recovery. For some runners, it's constant battle to keep their calves in a happy place. When calf muscles become tight, the risk of muscle or Achilles tendon tears and injury increases. The best way to get new runners off the couch and across the finish line of their first 5K.