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Active Single-Leg Calf Stretch

by Anthony Carey, MA

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The active single leg calf stretch is a great dynamic flexibility exercise for the calf that also gets at the entire posterior chain of the body. It starts from the ball of the foot and works its way all the way up into the hamstrings and into the gluteal region. Start with your foot on the half foam roller to get a pre-stretch, keeping your heel on the ground. You can use the foam roller or even a phone book; anything that creates an initial stretch on the calf. Put your hands on a step ladder, a wall or a piece of equipment at the gym that provides some external stability. From here, stretch your calf a little bit and reach back with your right leg. As you do that, your torso will flex forward. As the upper body goes forward, the leg goes back and you'll have full extension at the right knee, avoiding any rotation of the pelvis because that will change the stretch on the left calf. The next motion is to raise your right leg up and flex your hip so your right thigh is parallel to the floor. From here, rotate that knee, which will cause your weight to shift to the outside of the left calf and increase the outer calf stretch. You'll cross back over and open up completely at the hip, getting the weight to shift to the inside of the foot. Now, as you move back and forth, the stretch shifts between the outside and the inside. The final position is to slightly flex the left knee. This get the soleus, which is the shorter calf muscle. Repeat the side to side motion going across your body again, causing the weight shift as you drive your body weight inside and outside with the right knee. This should be repeated on both legs.

About the Presenter

Anthony Carey, MA

Anthony Carey, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Anthony Carey, MA, owns Function First in San Diego, California. He holds a master?s degree in biomechanics and athletic training, and is an internationally-recognized speaker on biomechanics, posture, motor control and musculoskeletal pain and function. As a best-selling author, his work has been featured in the New York Times and Time Magazine. Anthony is also the inventor of the Core-Tex.