Daily Calf Mobility: Bigger Fitness Gains in 4 Minutes
Are you feeling increased stiffness and aches in your lower back from your workout or even everyday activities like running, sitting, or walking? Are you looking for a quick way to combat those lower body blues and loosen up your hips? We all know what it feels like when a tight body keeps us from enjoying all of life’s activities, but time is of the essence as a busy adult. If you’re hungry for easy ways to open the hips, release tension in the posterior chain, and relieve soreness in those stubborn, tight calf muscle and achilles in one convenient stretch, then keep reading.
With only 2 minutes per leg, per day, the Weighted Kneeling Calf Stretch from the GymnasticBodies Stretch Series comes to the rescue to mobilize your lower body while prepping you for bigger gains. Adding this stretch into your fitness routine means you can reap the benefits of smart, efficient stretching. The results boast a more mobile lower half with fewer aches and pains and increased quality of life.
Let’s get started on opening your hips, deepening your squat and feeling lighter on your feet!
Weighted Kneeling Calf Stretch – Step-by-Step Setup & Execution
To begin with, it’s helpful to note that setting up for this stretch is not as intuitive as the traditional stretches you learned in gym class. The after effects, however, are worth it. Follow these steps and you’ll see what we mean:
Step 0: How low can you go? First, test your hips and lower back mobility by squatting as low past parallel as possible while keeping your heels down on the floor. The end goal here - that the upcoming calf stretch will help with - is to get the back of your thighs to make full contact with your calves.
Step 1: Now for the stretch: put one leg forward, heel flat on the floor, the other leg placed behind you.
Step 2: Crouch down to the floor and keep that leg tucked behind you.
Step 3: Put a free weight (or large book) onto your knee – only go as heavy as is comfortable.
Comfortably hold the weight up on top of your knee – start light, and increase the weight over time, as your ankle opens up.
Step 4: Push your weighted knee as far forward past your ankle as possible while keeping your heel on the floor (if need be, use your hand to keep your heel down). Hold this stretch for 2 minutes before switching sides.
Step 5: After stretching both sides, retest the first cue by squatting as low past parallel as possible once again. You’ll be surprised at the immediate mobility gain! In less than 5 minutes, you’ll have given your calf muscles, achilles and lower back the relief they deserve. If you keep up like this daily, you’re on your way to something big.
For more mobility drills, check out the GB Stretch Courses and enjoy increased freedom of movement as a result!
Keep in mind that you can change which side of your achilles you stretch by adjusting the angle of your knee; play with the stretch by holding your knee over your small toe for 30 seconds, your middle toe for 30 seconds, and your big toe for 30 seconds to stretch your outer, mid, and inner achilles – an added bonus tip for the running enthusiast.
There is always a follow-up progression with GymnasticBodies Exercises to keep you from plateauing and help you do more with your body. Need some extra oomph from this stretch? Try putting a wedge (a yoga block or book will do the trick) underneath the ball of your foot to upgrade the achilles portion of this stretch. Daily efforts in just a few minutes on this stretch will be noticed. Lower body relief and mobility are yours for the taking.
Use the GymnasticBodies Stretch Courses to improve your middle splits, front splits and shoulder mobility for bigger gains in your fitness journey, weight-lifting pursuits and more relief from the tight spots that hold you back.