Do you struggle with tight calf muscles, Achilles pain, or Plantar Fasciitis?
If so, calf stretches are some of the best exercises for loosening calf muscles. They are a critical component of an overall flexibility program for runners.
I recently added a slant board to my home workout equipment list as we used it during my physical therapy and my physical therapist recommended it as something every runner should own. Since getting mine, I agree. It is a great option if you want a higher degree of stabilization, more options on stretch angle, or you want to stretch both calf muscles at the same time.
I use both as the ProStretch helps with stretching the Plantar Fasciitis AND the calf, but the slant board allows me to get a feeling of a deeper stretch and since it does not rock, it is a bit easier on my knees.
1. Tip: Not shown, but I put my non stretching foot on a small wooden box or step (to keep both feet level when starting the stretch) and then place the calf to be stretched in the ProStretch. Be sure to have something to hold on to in order to steady yourself.
2. Placing all your weight on the side to be stretched, lift your toes while rolling back so your toes go up, and apply the stretch to your calf muscle.
3. Hold for approximately 15-30 seconds and then relax. Be careful to not overstretch. You want to apply tension, not pain when stretching.
4. Repeat for several repetitions of each calf muscle and as often as needed to increase flexibility. I recommend 2-3 times per day. (I actually keep it next to my desk at work as a constant reminder to use it.)
The following video demonstrates some of the exercises you can do using the ProStretch:
If you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, achilles pain, or various forms of tendonitis, then calf stretching can be a great way to help alleviate the pain and start your rehab process. Often you will need to combine stretching, strength training and integrate that with smart training principles and workouts in order to fully eliminate these types of overuse injuries. If you want to combine stretching with runner-specific strength training AND have it integrated with your training plan, consider checking out my PaceBuilders training program. I work with a lot of athletes who have problem areas like tight calves and/or running injuries.