Stretching is the ultimate solution for stiffness in muscles, including calves. But you may wonder how often you should stretch your calves. Should you stretch calves every day?
If you have tight calf muscles, it’s better to stretch your calves every day. You can start two times a day, especially if you sit for long periods and wear high-heel shoes. Consistently stretching your calves three or four times a week increases your flexibility and improves blood circulation, relieving the tension in the calves.
Read this article to explore the benefits of stretching calves and learn some tips to optimize your stretching routine.
We’ll also introduce some calf stretches that you can incorporate into your daily routine.
If you are in a hurry to see the best products to help you stretch your calves, see the products listed below.
- 1 Benefits of Stretching Calves 🏃♀️
- 2 How Frequently Should You Stretch Your Calves 🤔
- 3 Tips for Stretching Calves 😃
- 4 Stretches For Calves 🙆♀️
- 5 Bottom Line 🤗
Benefits of Stretching Calves 🏃♀️
Your calves consist of two muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.
Doing eccentric exercises and daily activities such as walking or standing for a long time put pressure on these muscles.
Both athletes and non-athletes can benefit from calves stretches.
Here are some benefits:
Running and strength training tighten muscles, reducing the range of motion and leading to muscle imbalance.
Also, if you have a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll be prone to reduced range of motion and tight calves.
There are two main types of injuries related to the calves:
1. Achilles Tendonitis
Overusing and putting stress on the Achilles tendon. This is the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel. Putting pressure on this will lead to Achilles tendonitis.
Common symptoms are swelling, inflammation, pain in the back of the leg, and limited range of motion when flexing your leg.
2. Muscle Cramp
A muscle cramp is a sudden and painful stiffness in your calves when you push your muscles too much or do new exercises.
It also can be caused by dehydration and mineral deficit.
Calf stretching helps reduce the tension in the calves and prevents these injuries.
By stretching your calves, you activate your leg muscles and increase blood flow to these areas, thus improving your short-term range of motion and mobility.
This way, you can perform your daily or athletic activities more effectively.
How Frequently Should You Stretch Your Calves 🤔
Stretching helps your muscles become more elastic, and since it’s not intense, you can do it a few times a day.
Remember that consistency is more important than the number of daily sessions, so set a daily routine for stretching and stick with it.
If you frequently skip your stretching sessions, you won’t achieve the flexibility you want.
Stretching your calves before and after leg workouts is recommended.
They can also help you release the exercise-induced strain and tension, relaxing your muscles.
See more in our post how do you stretch your calves before running.
Tips for Stretching Calves 😃
Below we have a list of tips to help you gain the most benefit from your stretching routine:
Stretches For Calves 🙆♀️
Here are some calf stretches that you can incorporate into your stretching routine.
Seated Calf Stretch With a Resistance Band
Resistance bands allow for a deeper stretch in hamstrings and calves.
If you don’t want to use a resistance band, go for a yoga strap or a towel.
Start with sitting on the ground with your feet extended.
Place the resistance band around one palm, holding its sides with both hands.
Keep the other leg bent on the ground. Slightly pull the band to bring your toes toward your shins.
Feel the stretch in your calf, hold it for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch sides.
Raise your leg without bending your knee while your palm faces the ceiling for more stretch.
Pull your leg toward your chest with the resistance band and hold the stretch.
See our top three resistance bands to help you go deeper into stretches and more.
Lunging Calf Stretch
This move is a famous calf stretch, as you can do it to make the stretch dynamic.
By keeping the back leg straight during the movement, you work on your gastrocnemius—the large muscles in your calf.
Stand in a neutral position, put your hands on your hips and keep your back straight.
You also can place the palm of your hands against the wall.
Step one foot straight to the back and bend your front knee to make a mini lunge.
The further back your foot is, the more stretch you feel in your calf.
Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat the movement with the other leg.
Runners particularly can benefit from this simple stretch as it reduces the strain on the calves and prevents common injuries like Achilles tendonitis.
Stand upright with your hands placed on your hips.
Push through the balls of your foot and raise your heels until you come to your toes. Hold there for 10 to 15 seconds and release.
As it’s the simplest move among exercises, you can do it anytime.
You can add more intensity by holding dumbbells in both hands.
Check out these adjustable dumbells available on Amazon. They are an excellent option for at-home workouts.
Standing Bent-Over Calf Stretch
This stretch works your ankle dorsiflexion and targets your hamstrings. It also helps you get a better posterior chain as muscles affect each other.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your back straight.
Step one foot forward and hinge forward at your hips to grab your toe. Keep both legs straight during the stretch.
Hold there for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch legs.
Downward Dog Stretch
The downward dog pose is an excellent way to stretch the entire body, especially the back, including hips, glutes, calves, and heels.
Start with the high plank position with your hands beneath your shoulder.
Press through your fingers and palms until your head is between your hands, then raise your hips toward the ceiling.
The more you keep your heels on the ground, the more stretch will be in your calves. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Then release.
Heel Drop Stretch
In this exercise, gravity assists in stretching your calves. You can do the stretch on a step, a box, or the edge of the treadmill.
Place the balls of your foot at the edge of the step and drop one heel toward the floor.
Bend the other leg to avoid putting too much weight on it. Hold the stretch for around 10 seconds and repeat it with the other leg.
You can pedal your feet back and forth or push your heels toward the floor and raise it to make the stretch dynamic.
This squat variation works your lower-body muscles and strengthens your calves.
Stand with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. Keep your toes slightly turned out, and put your hands on your hips.
Bend your knees until your toes disappear and bring your hips into a squat position.
Without raising your hips, lift one heel and squeeze your calf. Hold the stretch for five seconds. Then repeat with the other leg.
Foam Roller Stretch
You can use a water bottle instead of a foam roller.
Sit with your legs extended on the ground. Place a foam roller under one ankle and roll it back and forth.
For more stretch, keep your ankle stacked.
Repeat ten times and switch the legs.
This YouTube from Runner’s World teaches you how to perform it properly:
See below our top three recommended foam rollers on amazon.
Plyometric Jump Squat
This exercise targets your abs and lower-body muscles while elevating your heart rate and can improve your athletic performance, especially in running and explosive movements.
Stand up straight and put your feet more than shoulder-width apart while maintaining a neutral position.
Bend your knees to go to a squat position. Squat down, jump up, push your hands backward, and land lightly.
See below our top three soft and durable Yoga Mats you can buy if you don’t have one.
Bottom Line 🤗
When you have tight calves due to a sedentary lifestyle or eccentric leg exercise such as running, you can stretch your calves two or three times a day.
Seated and lunging calf stretches can alleviate some tightness.
You can also do foam roller stretches and a few different squat variations to deal with the issue.
Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API