The foot and ankle are the common regions which suffer pain after running or doing any physical activity involving vigorous movement of legs; the elastic and flexible calf muscles help to soften this shock down below in the legs, the calf muscles help in preventing injuries of the leg such as Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, hamstring pull and many others.
As the Calves or Calf muscle construct and important parts of the leg muscles and prevent from various injuries, its proper care is necessary to stay fit and healthy. And to maintain the strength and flexibility of this muscle group stretch are performed.
The exercises for proper maintenance of Calves or Calf muscles are easy and don’t require much of space or equipment, and hence can be performed even at home. The stretches which are done in the welfare of the Calves or Calf muscles are commonly known as Calf stretches.
Calf stretches are very helpful in releasing the tension of lower leg muscles, which occur due to the overuse of legs. Many times during the workout people forget to give an emphasis on the Calves or Calf muscles, but this isn’t correct as these muscles are equally important like any other muscle group of the body.
However, always remember to stretch your calves during the exercise session; perform simple and effective exercise for this purpose. For the proper conditioning of Calves or Calf muscles few isometric exercises are also performed, hence the isometric exercises help to strengthen the Calves or Calf muscles without any wear or tear of any tissue.
Isometric exercises are those exercises in which no physical movement is visible to an observer, but a tension is created in the muscles which help to increase its strength without increasing the length of the muscle.
Many people all around the globe suffer from pain, stiffness and tightness of Calves or Calf which lead to serious physical alignment and also ruin the sportsman spirit of many athletes. But no need to worry at all as there are several exercises which are performed to relieve the tightness of the Calves or Calf muscles.
These stretches are easy and can be performed at home also, but always remember to take an advice from a physiotherapist before getting started with any sort of work out. As every individual is not same, these exercises may seem easy for some while few people will find it difficult to perform these stretches. And if you feel any kind of discomfort after practicing the stretches, then please consult a physiotherapist or a professional physical trainer as soon as possible.
Here are a few stretches listed below which provide strength to the Calves muscles as well as make them flexible:
1. Double-Leg Calf Raise
Calf raises are among the typical calf-strengthening workout. In this stretches the body weight is used to strengthen and tone and strengthen the gastrocnemius and Soleus.
Initial position for startup: For starting this workout stand close to a wall for balance. Dwell your feet such that you’re hip are distant apart, and do not forget to make sure that your knees, hips and ankles all lie in a straight line.
Stand on a railing that is at a sufficient height over the floor. Places your feet in such a way that the heels are not placed on the railing.
Act: Press the balls of both your feet in a downward direction, such that your body gets uplifted. After getting into the above mentioned position; pull your abdominal muscles so that to move in upward direction rather than moving in forward or backward direction.
Variations: If you are facing any sort of discomfort or you are unable to perform the exercise, then you can add some of the variation in the technique of this workout so that you can perform this exercise with ease.
You can opt for following ways to get started with this Calf stretch, exercise and then later if you feel that you can perform the Double-Leg Calf Raise without any external help, at that time you can start to practice the original Double-Leg Calf stretch.
But till then you can take help of props like stairs and chairs and perform this work out in following ways:
Flinch standing on a stair: Along with stairs you can also make use of solid wood block of medium height and then keep your leg on it and then press higher than that when started with flatfoot. After this
Keep the round part of your feet on the stairs, lesser the distance between your heels and the floor as much as possible, but remember to carry out this movement slowly, avoid jerks or fast movement. And then push your heels up high as much possible for you.
Add burden to add intensity. You can also repeat the exercise by holding dumbbells or any other kind of weight in your one hand. Keep the other hand on the wall for support. There are seated calf raise machines too that increase the intensity on the calves. Take care of the form; bad form may lead to cramps.
Repeat this exercise at least twice in your each workout session. But please do not over exhaust yourself in this exercise. As over practice can cause the wear and tear of the Calves muscles which can further lead to the serious kind of tissue injury, and thus lead to various physical alignments.
2. Seated Calf Elevation
This exercise for calves strengthening is one of the easiest exercises, this can be performed even at home, you can also perform this exercise at the gym on the calf exercise machine. The exercise laid an emphasis on both the gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles.
- For performing the exercise at home: This exercise is easy and can be performed anywhere, even at home, all you need is an exercise mat and a loose comfortable clothing which allows all the possible movement of your body comfortably.
- Initial position: For performing this exercise, first of all; firmly settle down over a chair, keeping your feet flat on the floor. After this place your knees and feet in a straight line, don’t turn your knees inward or outward they should be in a straight line with the feet. While sitting on a chair, keep your back straight, buttocks touching the end of the chair and the position should be such that the spine is in an upward direction. After getting in correct position; distribute the weight of your body evenly on both the thighs. After that, place some external load on your thighs something like heavy books, or some other flat object which don’t roll off your thighs. If you are at the gym and doing this workout you can make use of these weights. While performing this exercise, keep a few things in mine; your sitting posture should be correct and overload shouldn’t be kept on the thighs. If you perform this workout in a correct way, then, you will surely notice positive changes in your Calves muscles.
3. Wall calf stretch
This is one of the oldest Calf stretch, commonly called the classic calf stretch. It can be performed almost in any corner of the earth, as it doesn’t need too many probes for its practice.
The Wall calf stretch is performed by taking help of a wall as a probe. It is a kind of isometric exercise that is it help to increase the strength of the muscle but doesn’t cause any kind of change in the length of the muscle.
- For performing the wall calf stretch, stand near a wall and keep at least one arm’s distance from the wall. Stride your left leg frontward and your right leg in backward direction, during all this process keep your feet parallel to each other.
- After that, make a bend of your left knee and press it through your right heel. Hold this position for at least twenty to thirty seconds and then relax.
- After a few seconds of relaxation, perform the same procedure for the next leg.
The wall calf stretch is liked by many people as it doesn’t require much of time and space. And it is also safe; there is no chance of serious injury by performing this workout.
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