Calf Stretches for Ballet and Running

This one applies to you runner’s out there too: calf stretches. Both ballet and running cause me to get horribly tight calves and shin splints, but they’re getting slightly more manageable. Here’s some of my favorites:

Downward-facing cat

Downward facing cat

 Downward Facing Dog:

Arms should be shoulder width apart, legs hip width apart, balancing your legs equally. Knees can be bent if you’re a beginner. I like to alternate between keeping one knee straight and the other bent to feel a full stretch.

Runner’s Stretch:

This one’s really popular. Stand at a wall with your hands placed straight in front of you, with one leg bent in a lunge and the other extended behind you. Sometimes I have to bend my back knee ever so slightly to get a good stretch in this one as well ( I have hyper-extended knees).

 Wall or stair stretch:

I don’t have any stairs in my apartment, so I often do this one just on a wall or on the foot of a ballet barre if I’m in class. Stand by a wall with one foot pressed up again the wall at an angle; or stretch one heel down off a stair while the other remains of the step.

Towel Stretch:

The same basic stretch you used to do in high school gym class with some help. Sitting on the floor, extend both legs out straight in front of you and wrap a towel or theraband around your feet and pull yourself down to your toes. While I can reach my toes, I like the extra stability this gives me. Another variation is to start by gripping the towel with a straight back and then lean back slightly to stretch the calves.

Foam Rolling:

The foam roller is my frenemy. It hurts but also helps so much. For calf tightness I like to roll both by shins and my calves. I roll my shins both at the same time which is pretty easy; I roll my calves individually by holding myself up with my arms with one leg crossed over the other.

I know there are lot more great stretches out there, so let’s hear them! What are your favorite ways to stretch out your calves?

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