Calf Stretches

Whether you’re active at the gym, going for a walk or sitting at the desk all day, you should learn how to use Calf Stretches!

For starters, did you know there are two different calf muscles – the Gastrocnemuis and Soleus?

The Gastrocnemius (Gastroc’s for short) make up the bulk of the calf, sitting below the knee. These activate when the knee is straight and go slack when the knee is bent

The Soleus make up the flat part of the lower calf and take over as the dominant contractor when the knee is bent.

Many people aren’t aware that there are two muscles or that there is a need for two different types of calf stretches – one with bent knees and one with straight knees.


  • Wall stretch. Hands against the wall in a lunge type position, with both feet flat on the floor, front knee bent and back knee straight – this will stretch the Gastroc’s. Change this up to target the soleus by bending the back knee.
  • Standing on the edge of a step and dropping one heel down off the back of the step. Keep the knee straight to target the Gastroc’s, and bent to target the Soleus.

Hold these stretches can be held for 20-30 seconds, done on both legs, throughout the day when needed. As these are static stretches, they are great to do post-exercise when cooling down and recovering.


If you’re suffering from Calf pain or stiffness or would like to learn more, make an appointment online with one of our Osteopaths or Remedial Massage therapists!

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