S-t-r-e-e-e-t-c-h it out…

Posted in Health and Fitness by Sarah on July 6, 2010


I’m finally back in a regular running routine after a crazy & busy first half of the year.  I am reconnecting with the inimitable runner’s high and am finding my rhythm again on the treadmill (city pavement is too harsh for these old lady joints!).   But, wow, holy aching calves!  I’ve always had tight calves and running definitely doesn’t help.  Normally I skip the post-workout stretch because I’m on a schedule in the a.m. and feel like I am wasting time sitting around stretching.  But I’m always amazed at what a difference a good stretch makes the next day.

A few weeks ago, I got some great tips for stretching out my calves from a massage therapist at my favorite massage/physical therapy place in San Francisco:  Psoas Massage + Bodywork.  He made sure I had a stretch for both the gastrocnemius (upper calf) and the soleus (lower calf). 

  • Stretching the upper calf is as simple as pushing your bodyweight up against a wall with one foot behind, leg straight, and the front foot/leg bent.  Holding for 15-20 seconds will restore your calf to its original length and holding longer will really help you stretch it out.  Switch legs once you’ve stretched the first one out.  My massage therapist said it’s ok to spend a little more time on one leg than the other if it feels tighter.
  • To stretch the lower calf, my total weakness, from the same gastrocnemius stretch position, bend the back leg as well as the front slightly – you’ll be in a bit of a lunge position.  Bend the back leg while holding onto that wall until you feel a stretch above your heel.   Hold until you’re stretched out and then switch.

Easy as pie and it only takes 2 minutes!


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