How to Flex Your Calves
Whether you're flexing your calves for exercise or as a gentle stretch at the end of a long day, proper technique helps prevent cramps and muscle injury. Ballerinas and other dancers perform calf stretches to loosen their muscles before a performance. Weightlifters flex their calves during strength-training exercises at the gym. This all-purpose movement has many uses, from helping you build muscle to preparing you to go onstage and bask in the glow of the spotlights.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your knees touching.
Lift up from your core, lean forward from your waist and reach forward to grab your toes. If you can't touch your toes, hold one end of a yoga strap in each hand and wrap the middle of the strap around the balls of your feet.
Pull your toes gently toward you while pushing your heels away. You will feel your calves flex.
Release your toes and point them forward like a ballerina, pushing the tops of your feet toward the ceiling. You will feel your calves flex in the opposite direction. Continue to flex and point your feet until your calf muscles feel relaxed.
Stand with the balls of your feet on a stair step. Your heels should hang off. Hold onto a railing or wall for balance if necessary.
Stand on tiptoe to flex your calves, then flex them in the opposite direction by dropping your heels again.
Hold hand weights with your arms hanging at your sides to turn flexing your calves into an exercise. Repeat the step exercise 10 times.
Neville Smithson did his undergraduate work at Hampshire College and earned an MFA in creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. Having had a change of heart about his passions, Smithson is now back in Massachusetts, where he enrolled in a combined MA/PhD physical therapy program.