If you have tight calves (and if you’re active you probably have tight calves) then your body will thank you for doing this stretch.
First let me say that while this is a SUPER powerful stretch, it’s not a FULL solution for any of the following. With that said, it’s the best possible one-off solution I can give you right now, and if you do this daily for a week I would be shocked if you don’t feel significantly better for any or all of these:
And if you’re looking for the right foam roller to do the job, I recommend this Medium Density Foam Roller. Or if you’re feeling a little more daring, try out this High Density Foam Roller. Full disclosure, these are affiliate links. If you’re looking for our comprehensive solution to plantar fasciitis specifically then check out our Break Up With Your PF Course.
This is not my technique, I didn’t invent it. I originally saw Kelly Starret use this to address a tight achilles and low calf, and I’ve been using it to stretch my own calves from top to bottom ever since.
What’s REALLY cool about this stretch is you can actually grab a portion of the soleus (usually very difficult to stretch) when you pin the belly of your calf right where the two heads of the gastroc meet the achilles tendon (as pictured). When you get it just right you’re not just releasing your “calf” muscles (aka your gastrocnemius), you’re releasing the soleus and Achilles tendon at the same time too. You’re even going to affect the perroneals with this, if you do it right.
COACH (that would be me) SAYS:
This is going to be TOUGH. You might not want to make yourself do it. But YOU CAN DO IT! You have to coach yourself through this. And it’s totally worth it.
Heel pain can be relieved with the above technique, but to eliminate it I recommend you go after your hamstrings. In my private practice I have discovered that most of the time heel pain responds more to hamstring release than the calf release, while plantar fasciitis, Achilles issues, shin splints etc all respond the most to calf work. By all means combine the two for the best result! Click here for my hamstring release technique.
Let me know what you think of “the ONE stretch” and/or the hamstring release, and don’t hesitate to comment or write me if you have questions!
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