The One Calf Stretch to Know If Your Workout Has a Lot of Jumping in It

Photo: GettyImages/ Cavan Images
Whether you're doing jumping jacks, box jumps, skipping rope, or penciling in dance cardio, jumping-inspired moves are a fitness gold mine. It gets your heart rate way up, ignites that lower-body burn, and sculpts what can only be called "designer calves" (and glutes, for that matter).

Unfortunately, (ugh) it's not without its risk of injury. "Jumping is actually a super high impact way of moving that can put a lot of stress and strain on the body, especially the calves, shins, and feet," says dance sculpt instructor, Megan Roup, who happens to be leading our next Well+Good Retreat in Miami this December. "Stretching before and after jump-based workouts is really important because often times people will complain of really tight calves." Too-tight calves, in addition to being about as pleasant as the taste of moldy bread, can also lead to painful injuries such as exacerbated shin splints, calf pulls, and even stress fractures.

So, I talked to Roup about how to target calf muscle and ward off injuries that'll side-line your fitness routine. She recommends a classic: The standing wall stretch, which helps to loosen up the calf. After all, if your calf gets too tight, you might all of the sudden notice problems with the Achilles or even suffer from ankle or foot issues. Before that happens, take to the wall and stretch things out.

standing calf stretch
Photo: Getty Images/ franckreporter

Find a wall, box, or pillar that is stable enough for you to put your weight into it. Stand about one foot away from the wall, facing it. Place your left foot back so that your feet are staggered, keeping the knee straight. Then, place the toes of your right foot up against the wall in a "flex" position, actively pushing the heel towards the floor. Don't pulse or bounce, instead push your hips forward slowly to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

To get more workout (and cool down) intel from Megan Roup in person at our Well+Good Retreat in Miami, email to book your spot.

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