Calf Stretching Exercises

By S.F. Heron
Stretch your calf muscles with the modified runners stretch.
Stretch your calf muscles with the modified runners stretch.

Your calf muscles work to carry you through activities every day, helping both your knees and feet in movement. Two muscles comprise the calf area: the gastrocneumius muscle near the top of the calf, which helps us lift our heels, and the soleus, which is located beneath the gastrocneumius muscle. Although not visible from the outside, the soleus helps raise the heel when the knee bends. Calf-stretching exercises help prevent injuries to the calves as well as the Achilles, hamstring (rear of thighs) and knees. These calf-stretching exercises will help protect these muscles during your golf round.

Runners Stretch

Stand slightly less than an arms length away from a wall. Place both hands outstretched forward and take a large step toward the wall. Toes should be facing just barely inward on the forward foot. Your back foot should be firmly planted on the floor. Bend the elbows and your front knee and hold for five seconds. You should feel the stretch along the rear leg calf muscle. Release and repeat five times for each leg.

Balance Exercise

Balance exercises can help strengthen and stretch an injured calf muscle with gentle and slow repetitions to rehabilitate the muscle. Stand tall and straight, aligning the body from neck to hips. Proper posture allows for weight distribution through the heel, so imagine a line extending from your ear to your heel to get the correct stance. Slightly bend one knee, lifting the foot off the floor. Hold for 10 counts and place the foot on the floor. Don't flatten the foot on the floor or press through the ball of the foot. Put your foot down when you lose balance and begin again.

Towel Stretches

Grab a standard bath towel and roll it up. Sit on the floor with legs extended forward and a straight back aligned from ears to hips. Grasp both ends of the towel and loop it around across the ball of the foot. Pull back gently, forcing the toes to point toward the ceiling. Hold this stretch for 10 second and release. As calf muscle flexibility increases, you'll find the toes point more toward you rather than the ceiling. Repeat five times for each side.

Heel Raises

Sometimes calf muscles reach a point where simple stretches just don't work to flex the muscle. In this case, intermediate exercises can help stretch the calf muscles. Stand with feet together on a flat surface. Lift up onto the toes of both feet in a measured movement and hold for 10 counts. Lower and repeat 20 times. This challenging exercise helps create the explosive jumping power used by basketball players, as well as the balance needed by dancers. Try performing heel raises on one foot at a time if lifting onto both feet is too challenging.

Photo Credits

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