How to stretch calves

How to stretch calves - main image

Ridding our routines of tight calf muscles and wider calf pain to work out for longer

Your calf muscle is important, you don’t need a PHD to figure it out. And while that sounds obvious, why do people seem to neglect its health so much? From calf stretches to compound warm up exercises… there are so many ways to treat your calf muscles, but just as many to damage them.

Our calf muscles, made of two main muscles – the gastrocnemius and the soleus – act as, let’s say, two primary sails to our functioning ship of a body. As soon as those sails become pierced, even slightly, we begin our journey to being potentially immobilised.

And even the tiniest of tears can begin to slow us down.

That’s why warming up and warming down are so important.

Tight calves are a warning sign that we need to pay more attention to their well-being. We can use many a calf stretch to remedy this potentially growing issue, so if you’re not already, then I have one question.


Let’s sail through some easy calf stretches to keep you fit, healthy and running today, so you don’t have to worry about tightness slowing you down, so you don’t have to worry about failing fitness development…

So you don’t have to worry at all.

Simple Measures

Firstly, let’s identify some often overlooked risk factors.

From the top of our backs right down to our Achilles tendon, muscle tightness occurs from a concerning amount of daily activities. Sit down a lot, maybe for work? Well, the lack of a regular range of motion is contributing to tightness and strain, but just because you get used to it doesn’t mean it’s good.

Footwear also plays a role in strain – your feet, naturally, but other areas of your body like the gastrocnemius muscle can be affected too.

Just like a bullet ricocheting around, all it takes is one action to cause a hell of a lot of issues…


Let’s take a look at two really easy stretches you should be doing on a daily basis if you begin to feel tightness or issues with your calf.

Seated Calf Stretch With a Resistance Band

Try using a resistance band for this. Self writes, ”If you don’t have a resistance band, you can use a yoga strap, a towel, or something similar.

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Loop a resistance band (or whatever tool you’re using) around one foot, holding both sides of it with your hands.
  • Gently pull your toes toward your shin until you feel the stretch in your calf.
  • Repeat on the other side.”

The Downward Dog

Provided by Self again, this classic yoga pose will do wonders for a memorable calf stretch.

  • ”Start in a high plank with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Pressing through your fingers and palms, shift your weight back to bring your butt to the ceiling, so your body’s in an inverted V shape.
  • Press your heels toward the ground – the closer they get to the floor, the deeper the calf stretch will be.
  • To stretch the lower part of your calves, bend your knees slightly while you continue to press your heels toward the ground.”


There you have it, be good to your calves and check out more stretches today. Both before and after a warm-up, between long periods of sitting down… do the right thing and look after your calf muscles.


Do I need to keep my knee straight

No, not technically, you’ll still get a stretch on your calf with a knee slightly bent, so without your legs straight.

Can poor flexibility lead to any additional issues?

Poor calf flexibility may lead to knee and ankle pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and even back issues.

How is the calf made up?

The calf is made up of two muscles that attach at the knee and the bottom of your heel. The gastrocnemius is a big player in knee flexion, while the soleus is the main driver for plantar flexion (think: pointing your foot).

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