How to Stretch The Gastrocnemius and Soleus Muscles

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

It's arguable that your calves are the most worked muscle in your entire body. You walk on them, you run with them to grab that door that's about to close, you climb hills with them, and you even use your right one when you're driving. Because of how often they get worked, it's important to remember to stretch them whenever you plan to exercise them in the gym or go for a jog.

Step 2

Stretching your calves without equipment is something that most people don't know how to do- and really, there are only a couple of ways to do it. One way is by doing a one-legged downward facing dog Yoga pose. This pose allows your each calf (and the entire back of the leg, really) to deeply stretch. Another way to "stretch" your calves without equipment is simply to kneel down on one leg and put the other leg at a 90degree angle, foot flat on the floor. Once you do this, rub out your calf muscles. While it isn't technically stretching, it gets a similar effect of tension-release and muscle relaxation.

Step 3

On the flipside, having equipment to stretch your calves is definitely helpful. I've listed two different versions of calf-blocks below- each one with its own benefits. The OPTP slant blocks are simple, effective, and extremely light weight. Not to mention Cheap. You simply place your heel at the bottom of one of the blocks and lean forward, letting the weight from your upper body cause your calf muscle to stretch out massively. The other piece of equipment is Body Solid's calf-block platform. This platform is made out of steel, causing it to be durable enough to last virtually forever. It also comes with an attached calf bar where you can do calf exercises. If you plan to do your stretching at home, this might be the right investment for you. It is, however, far more expensive than the foam blocks from OPTP.

Step 4

Either way you go, using calf blocks for stretching the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles is imperative. These blocks provide an angle that will force your calf muscles to stretch to their limit, which is always a great thing.

Step 5

Stretching the calf muscles is important if you're a runner, weightlifter, or human being in general. Using your calves all day makes them tight beyond belief, and getting to stretch them every once in a while will prevent injuries during exercise. Moreover, you will have less of a chance of getting injured as you get older, and your legs will remain strong and active for years and years. As an added cherry on top, stretching your calf muscles will allow them room to grow larger, making your overall physique more rounded. All you have to do is apply any of the above stretch methods for 30 seconds or longer at least once a day (the more the better) and you'll be well on your way to having a stretched out and larger pair of calf muscles.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

The hardest part about stretching your calf muscles is figuring out the ways to do it- and I just eliminated that problem for you. Now all you have to do is stay consistent with your stretching, and you're gonna be golden.

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

This Student Author

This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Interestingly enough, if you're a harcore track sprinter, stretching your calf muscles is both necessary and eventually deadly. Ok, not literally deadly, but it can make a problem. I knew a girl who trained for sprinting religiously, and her calves were enormous during her junior year in college. She stretched them constantly, which probably prevented her from accruing any injuries, but left room for her calves to grow and grow and grow some more. Eventually they got so big that she had to have a surgery done in order to make more room for them inside of her legs. It's kind of a catch 22 at that point, though. Without stretching, she was bound to get injured. With stretching, her calves grew to be enormous. That, though, is a freak case. Generally this does not ever happen.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I started figuring out how to stretch my calves when I got involved with soccer. Constantly running around the field for hours each day left my legs sorer than you could ever imagine, and stretching them out at the end of the day was one of my favorite things to do. I noticed that my calves grew larger than most of my friends', and also that I was able to sustain my speed for a longer duration during running. Stretching your calves, whether you're an athlete or an average joe, is imperative to keeping a healthy set of legs. So grab a calf block or start doing some yoga- either way, get those calves a'stretchin'.
Happy lifting,

Other Tips from Jeremy