Best Calf Stretches for Runners

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

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.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

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.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

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.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

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.

Best calf stretches for runners | happyfitmama.com

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?

Linking up with Runners’ Roundup

11 comments on “Best Calf Stretches for Runners

  1. Having struggled with PF and shin splints over the years, I know of what you speak! I haven’t had as many issues with my calves since I switched to my current shoes–hoping that has helped. The stretches are essential!

  2. Calf stretches are gold. I don’t feel like I have issues with my calves but a PT that I saw last year said she saw some signs of tightness in my running form and suggested adding them to my routine. Where I really feel them is in my feet and I would never have thought to stretch my feet by stretching my calves.
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  3. I have had numerous issues with tight calves and shins. It’s the worst. I do these stretches but not consistently enough. Thanks for the reminder and for linking up

  4. These are great. I’ve always had really strong calves, and I’m working hard to build them back up after the accident. I think seeing how wasted away my right one was after the loss of muscle mass was one of the hardest parts for me 🙁

  5. My calves usually don’t feel too tight, but then when I go to stretch them I realize that I’ve been neglecting them! I like calf stretches because most can be done standing up and they dont take very long.

  6. I do tend to neglect my calves. They are tight and they actually hurt if I try to foam roll them (or have a massage therapist touch them! 🙂 ).

    One stretch I’ve added that I teach in my stretch class is a traditional calf stretch that I add some movement to. Instead of just standing with one leg back, I’ll slowly reach back, keeping my heel pressed down, then alternate to the other side. It seems to target a wider area of the calf.
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