Calf Stretching: No Bull
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What is the single best stretch for marathon runners?
If you only do one running-related exercise, make it a calf stretch. Several common running injuries, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, are exacerbated (if not caused) by tight calf muscles. My favorite calf stretch is the “wall push.”
- Place your forearms or hands against a wall.
- Bend one leg and place the foot of the bent leg flat on the floor.
- Step the other leg straight back, place the back foot flat on the floor, and keep both feet pointing straight ahead.
- Concentrate on bringing your hips towards the wall, while keeping your back foot flat on the floor.
- You should feel a stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold an easy stretch for a count of 30.
- Don't bounce. If you bounce, you could strain your calf rather than stretch it.
- For a slightly deeper stretch, raise the foot of your bent leg of the floor for a few seconds and place it back on the floor while you are counting to 30.
But wait, there's more. Before you switch to the opposite leg, bend the knee of the back leg and hold in an easy stretch for about 5 seconds. This move will stretch the soleus muscle, which is a muscle in the upper calf. Now you can repeat the stretch for the other leg.