Calf Stretch for Flexibility

Learn how to safely perform a standing calf stretch

Female runner stretching
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The calf, or gastrocnemius, muscle runs along the back of your lower leg. This muscle helps point the toes (plantar flexion) and contracts during sports the require powerful or explosive movements including sprinting, jumping, cycling, or stair running. This muscle may be prone to injury, such as a calf pull or strain, if not properly warmed up or if it becomes weak from fatigue or overuse. A tight calf muscle may also be more prone to injury.

How to Do a Simple Standing Stretch

There are many different ways to stretch your calf, but here is a simple stretch you can do while standing.

  • Stand about an arm's-length from the wall.
  • Lean forward and place both hands on the wall about shoulder width apart.
  • Extend one foot (the side to be stretched) behind you with heel on the ground and one foot closer to the wall.
  • Lean into wall with your hips until you feel a stretch in the calf of the extended leg.
  • Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and change sides.
  • For a deeper stretch, move your foot farther back.
  • This stretch is similar to the Achilles tendon heel stretch, however by keeping your knee straight you focus the stretch on the calf rather than the Achilles.

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