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Calf-Stretching Fundamentals

7204-train3Q: Any tips on how to stretch the calves? I stretch them every day with the basic wall stretch, but I don’t feel anything. I need to improve flexibility in my calves because I believe they are limiting my ability to squat with an upright posture.

A: You’re correct that having more flexible calves will assist you in properly performing the squat, as the shins must incline forward in order for you to maintain an upright posture. Even so, the typical static stretches just won’t cut it. The best way to stretch your calves is to use a standing and a seated calf machine.

First, position yourself under the pads of the standing calf raise machine, lock your knees and lower your heels as far as possible. Remember, keep your knees locked, as that will ensure that both the soleus and the gastrocnemius are fully stretched. Hold the stretch for a full 15 seconds.

Bend your knees to lower the shoulder pads, and take a five-second break during, which you increase the weight by two or three plates. Repeat the “stretch-rest-add-weight” process for another three to five reps.

Now move to the seated calf raise machine to give your soleus muscles a superior stretch. Use the same training methodology: Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, rest five seconds, and add weight for a total of five or six reps.

—Charles Poliquin


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