My nemesis has always been my pesky calves. While they are super strong, they are also tight AF the majority of the time. It’s a constant battle to keep my calves in a happy place. If my calves are happy that means my feet and ankles are equally as happy. I’ve had my fair share of foot and ankle issues over the years, including one of a the most hated injuries for a runner – Plantar Fasciitis. Along the way, I’ve learned that when I slack off on showing love to my calves, I pay the price.
You might be one of the lucky ones who has never felt the wrath of tight calves but maybe you started increasing your mileage during these odd pandemic times. Maybe your calves have started talking to you. My advice: take the call. Don’t ignore tight calves. It will catch up to you and you’ll be wishing you paid more attention to your calves.
Here’s the best calf stretches for runners that I’ve found to help me. It doesn’t take long to make a big difference. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds and you’ll be done in less than 5 minutes.
Double Calf Stretch
Lean into a wall or whatever you have near you while keeping both heels on the ground to feel a great stretch in both calves. If you can’t feel anything, stand back farther.
Traditional Calf Stretch
An oldie but a goodie that hits the calves in just the right spot. 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.
Heel Drop off a Step
Without a doubt, this is always my #1 stretch post run. I feel a stretch every single time. If you are short on time, you can always do both heels down but I feel a better stretch doing it as a single.
Single Leg Downward Facing Dog
I love down dog for stretching out my calves but I feel it a little bit more when I do it as a single leg.
Of course, I can’t talk about showing love to your calves without mentioning the foam roller or The Stick. It’s tough love for sure but rolling out your calves in addition to stretching are your best bets for injury free running. It’s easy to slack off on each but keep it up and you’ll notice a difference!
What are your go-to calf stretches?
Do you have an area that needs extra attention to stay injury free?
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