Tight calves? Try these yoga poses.
Do this yoga sequence to stretch your calf muscles.
Tight calf muscles are a common problem among runners, and your calves can get very tight if you’re running frequently without proper stretching. And did you know that other exercises, and even wearing high heels, can cause calf tightness, too? All the more reason to focus on stretching those legs out before and after your workout.
Yoga can definitely be utilized to give your calves a good stretch. Try incorporating the five poses below into your exercise routine to get the best stretch and prevent injury to your calves.
Warrior I has always been a good calf stretch for me. When I first started taking yoga my teachers would tell me to widen my stance until they got to know me and understood that my calves are too tight to have the very wide stance that some yogis can achieve. For me, the key to a good calf stretch is to make sure that my hips are square to the front of the room, even if that means bringing my feet closer together. My back toes are turned at a 45 degree angle, which helps achieve the calf stretch as well.
Gorilla is one of my favorite yoga poses for stretching calves. The forward fold gives me a good stretch in the hamstrings, but I love Gorilla because lifting up my toes really gives me a good calf stretch. It’s okay to bend your knees as much as you need to in this pose to make sure you’re not straining any muscles.
Downward facing dog is probably the best known yoga pose that stretches the calves. You can see progress over time by paying attention how close you can get your heels to your mat. Warming up the legs by bending the knees can help you get your heels a little closer if you’re feeling stiff.
This variation of a seated forward bend is a perfect stretch for the calves. To engage the calf muscles more, I’m using a strap to pull back on my toes. Here, I’m worrying less about folding forward and more about flexing my foot to get in the good calf stretch.
Eagle pose is less of a traditional calf stretch than the other poses, but it does stretch the calves a bit and really stretches the Achilles tendon, which runs from the calf to the heel. If the Achilles is nice and limber, it will pull less on the calf muscle, helping the calves to not feel as tight.
All images courtesy of Beth Brombosz.