Stretch calf muscles properly--other leg muscles fall into place. Work with your muscle tendon unit...five stretches to decrease Achilles Tendinitis and calf muscle strains. Golgi organs--proprioceptors--determine the stretch reflex. The muscle tendon unit, where the muscle joins the tendon, is the most likely place to strain.

Slow muscle stretching, no bouncing, is the best way to avoid muscle strains. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds until the muscle reflex unit relaxes, then ease down a bit more for the full muscle stretch and increased flexibilty. Work with the proprioceptors during stretching for increased muscle flexibility.

David's Homepage
Sports Injury Prevention page
A good stretching routine is the key to Flexibility. Make stretching a regular habit, and you will maintain as much flexibility as your body design is capable of.

Stretching & Flexibility: How to work with your Stretch reflex...David Holt, Orthopedic RN, Running book author, and 31 minute 10K runner

The Calf Muscles

	“Calf Muscle--two muscles. The gastrocnemius muscle origin is
above the knee, and therefore best stretched when the knee is
straight. The soleus muscles origin is 
below the knee and is
best stretched with a
bent knee.
a/ The lunge (as in a
sword fight) is suitable
for stretching both muscles. The
gastroc is stretched by
keeping the heel of the
back leg on the ground.
The front leg goes well
forward--keep your
balance--stay tall...in
this upright position, 
lean forward until the stretch is felt on the straight back leg. 
	“Placing the front foot flat on a chair, the soleus can be given an
extra stretch. Push the bent knee forward with the hands until the
muscle starts to feel a little tight. 

b/ Stand with your toes on a step or stair with the heel flat and
extended over the edge. Allow the heel to drop down slowly until
resistance is felt in the muscle or tendon, hold for the usual length
of time before pushing up (which is, of course, exercise).
	Do some stretches with straight knees to stretch the gastrocnemius muscle, 
do some stretches with bent knees for the soleus muscle.

The mis-named pushing the wall down. If you push, you're working the calf muscles--you should not work and stretch at the same time. With the stair exercise you have two distinct phases...work and stretch. With this next stretch, simply lean in towards the support.
For stretching the gastrocnemius muscle

C/ Calf Muscle--stand 3-4 feet
from a wall, put your
outstretched hands on the wall,
shoulder width apart. Keep the
knee straight and the heels flat
on the ground. Lean in towards
the wall slowly, keeping the
body and knee straight: Stop
when you think the calf is at its
limit...when it and the Achilles
tendons feel stretched. 
	

For the soleus muscle

D/ Next--as above, but 2-3 feet
away. Bend the knees until you
feel the stretch--again, keep your 
heels on the ground.

Ropes, pulleys etc

Place a piece of rope from the hardware store under the sole of your foot, then pull up to give your calf muscle a stretch. As always, bent knee to stretch the soleus muscle and straight knee to strtch the gastronemius muscle.

At your desk or home, you can use one of the stretch gizmos on the market, or simply use a triangle of wood. Place your feet on the gismos at an appropriate angle to maintain or gain flexibility.

Walking your fingers to your feet.

I like this one. Feet facing forward, place your hands on the floor in front of you...well in front of you. Straighten your legs--though locked knees are not essential. Now, walk your hands back toward your toes. Those with poor muscle flexiblility can walk back on the fingers until the stretch is felt in the back of the legs. Hold, relax per usual, then get a little closer to your toes as flexibility is improved.

The very flexible person will be able to do this stretch with palms on the floor. Whichever way you do it, keep your balance. Legs a foot or two apart may help; it also makes you feel better because your arms are closer to the ground...your legs appear to be more flexible. How much weight you put on your arms is your decision.

When doing most of your hamstring stretches, you can also stretch the calf muscles.

True hamstring muscle stretches are done with a straight leg, with a nearly locked knee. Simply dorsi flex the foot, bring the toes toward your shin, and you have two stretches at one time. You'll maintain good calf flexibility while doing your hamstring stretches.

Overpronation and other factors damage the Achilles tendon, but a FULLY stretched pair of calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus, is your first line of defense against damage to the Achilles tendon, the muscles, or that all important muscle tendon unit.

A good stretching routine is the key to Flexibility. Make stretching a regular habit, and you will maintain as much flexibility as your body design is capable of.

Calf Muscle Strains and Achilles Tendinitis, prevention and treatment
Slow stretching...no bouncing
Running and Sports injury treatment page

Buy Running Dialogue Today! ">Running Dialogue, 280 pages, $17.95, by David Holt. Training for the 5K to the Marathon, for beginners and experienced runners, with extensive injury prevention and treatment advice, nutrition, cartoons and inspirational essays, at Amazon.com
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Bicycle cross training...great way of stretching the hamstring muscles while building strength in the quadriceps
Knee injuries
Running / Sports injury treatment
Running / Sports Injury prevention
Running economy...stretching and flexibility for hip flexors and extensors, downhill running
Good stretching advice on the kicksports page...pictures too.
Stretching safety hints
5k training and racing...the first of five pages for the 5k runner
10k training...mileage and strength and access to four other parts of 10k training
Half marathon training...first element...mileage and hills for strength
Marathon training
Recreational running: 5k racing on low mileage, 15-25 week preparation for race, or public safety fitness test
David's Homepage
Links to more Distance Running, Training and Racing advice

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Buy Running Dialogue Today! ">Running Dialogue, 280 pages, $17.95, by David Holt. Training for the 5K to the Marathon, for beginners and experienced runners, with extensive injury prevention and treatment advice, nutrition, cartoons and inspirational essays, at Amazon.com
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Or send $17.95 per book to David Holt at PO Box 543, Goleta, CA 93116. (includes shipping and tax)


David Holt's second running book: 10K & 5K Running, Training and Racing.
Buy 10K & 5K Running, Training & Racing Today! ">10K & 5K Running, Training & Racing, 180 pages, $17.95, by David Holt (plus 3,000 meters, 8K, 12K and 10 mile training advice and schedules for 20-100 miles per week) at Amazon.com
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Copyright David Holt 2,000 Any part, or all of this training material may be quoted or reviewed...provided you acknowledge the source...Running Dialogue and other books by David Holt, this web page or www.runningbook.com, and contact me at holtrun@sprynet.com to let me know the material is being used or reviewed.