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?

How do you workout?

exercise ball

(Photo credit: keepon)

While I’d love to be in ballet every single day of the week, it’s just not possible given that I’m a broke college student and that I’m fairly busy. I know that I’m lucky that I make it to 2-3 classes a week. And if you’ve been following the blog, you know I’m out of ballet for at least another week (and it’s so hard not to go but I know it’s better for my ankle injury this way–I’m working on strengthening it and babying it as much as possible).

But since I can’t be in a studio every day of the week, I’ve started exercising in different ways, usually some sort of toning using either my foam roller (my favorite piece of equipment for working out sore muscles after a tough workout or ballet) and my new stability ball. I’m really looking forward to using the stability ball to workout my core since I could definitely use more core strength for my ballet.

Here’s some of the workouts I’ve been testing out, now that I haven’t been able to go to ballet lately or hit the gym and the treadmill like I used to:

Foam Roller Back Stretch: Haven’t done this one yet, I’ll let you know how it feels tonight!

Stability Ball Roll Out: Another set I’m testing this evening.

More Stability Ball Moves: I love the reverse crunches, ball curls, and pike. I can’t manage to figure out the skier without falling off (and Prevention’s video link is broken). Let me know if you’ve done it or a similar move.

Foam Roller Workout: The butterfly lift and the shell curl are wonderful exercises (the shell curl is great for rolling out your lower legs). Boyfriend said the scissor balance was tough but felt like it was a good workout while I couldn’t manage to do it. This link also has great recommendations for foam rollers. I personally love my theraroll. You can check out some muscle release techniques from them here.

Theraband Exercises: My ankles are in desperate need of strengthening so I love the first exercise she snows since it’s how to properly do it. Thanks for the link DisneyBallerina!

What exercises do you do to help strengthen your ballet muscles?

Skip to toolbar