Got cranky calves? You’re not alone. While your hips, hamstrings, and glutes probably dominate your stretching routine, your lower legs need love, too. If you ignore calf and Achilles stiffness, that tension will impact the rest of your musculature as it strains your stride (no matter what your sport) and, ultimately, increases your injury risk.
Luckily, calf pumping is a one-stop shop for increasing circulation, tone, and pliability in that dense musculature. This eccentric (active) strengthener requires some effort but is way more effective than static (still/passive) stretching. Plus it's totally doable anytime. Just find a step and pump those babies…
- Stand on the edge of a step with one or both heels hanging off.
- Lift both heels together.
- Keeping your leg straight without locking your knee, lower your right heel (you’ll need to bend the left knee).
- Switch and repeat 10 times.
- THEN do the same thing, keeping the knee of the lowering heel bent a bit more.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Build up to doing 3 sets with both a straight leg and a bent knee.
Pump 'em out!