Wednesday 19 September 2018

Straight leg calf stretch

The straight leg calf stretch, or standing calf stretch, is the most common stretch used for maintaining and improving the flexibility of your calf muscles especially the largest one, the gastrocnemius.

To target the smaller calf soleus muscles more perform the bent knee calf stretch variation.

Primary muscle targeted

The picture below shows the primary muscle targeted by the straight leg calf stretch:

Gastrocnemius calf muscle

How to perform

This stretch can be performed either standing unaided or if you need support by placing your hands against an object such as a wall or chair.

  • Stand with one foot about one meter in front of you.
  • Ensure both feet are flat on the ground and pointing forward.
  • Place hands on hips (or against support)
  • Bend your front knee whilst keeping the back leg straight. This should move your hips forward and you should quickly feel a stretch in the back of your calf muscles.
  • Hold for desired length of time. To maintain current length: about 10-15 seconds; to elongate the muscle about 30+ seconds.
  • To increase stretch simply move your hips forward.
Straight leg / standing calf stretch
A straight leg calf stretch with wall support. Picture borrowed from Workout Labs.


Only go as far as you find comfortable when feeling the stretch. Over-stretching the muscle can cause injury and pain is a pretty good indicator that you are stretching to much to quick.

Lyle Richardson,
Gym Pal - Your Friend In Fitness


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