Just about anyone who works out has performed the calf stretch at one time or another. It is included in just about every gym or health club induction as something that you should do before your workout - but should you?
While there is no doubt that the calf stretch is important, there are questions as to when you should actually do it. Let's look first at what's involved in performing the Calf Stretch:
- Begin by standing at arm's-length from a wall or doorway (or anything you can lean against)
- Lean into wall, bracing yourself with your arms.
- Your front leg is relaxed, knee bent, with little weight on it.
- Straighten your back leg, heel to the floor, so that you feel the tightness in the upper part of lower leg, just below the knee.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then relax.
- Repeat twice for each leg.
You often see people doing this before a run or a workout, but in fact this type of static movement produces a tightening reaction for an hour or so afterwards, and is thus not an ideal part of a warm-up.
The ideal time to perform static flexibility exercises like this is after your workout, when cooling down.