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Gastrocnemius stretches

The Gastrocnemius stretches help to ease the fatigue in the calf muscles.

Relevant anatomy: The gastrocnemius muscle is a less powerful plantar flexor than the soleus muscle. It is also a knee flexor, helping to bend the knee, and provide propulsion when you walk, run, and jump. It has two parts. The medial head arises as a tendon on the medial condyle of the femur, and the lateral head arises on the lateral condyle of the femur. The muscle forms two bellies that lie side by side and end mid-calf in an aponeurosis which gradually merges to become the Achilles tendon at the place where it merges with the tendon of the soleus.


Action: plantar flexion of foot

gastrocnemius anatomy
gastrocnemius stretch anatomy

The calf muscles tend to be affected by DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) more often than any other muscle group in the body. This problem typically occurs after people participate in unusual or unfamiliar activities. Light stretching exercises are recommended to help improve this condition and relieve some of the pain associated with it.

The following stretches help to stretch the gastrocnemius muscle in different body positions. For an effective stretch please note to follow the general stretching guidelines mentioned.

Gastrocnemius stretch in sitting with towel
Gastrocnemius stretch

Gastrocnemius stretch in sitting with towel

  • Sit as shown, looping towel around ball of foot.
  • Gently and steadily pull on towel, keeping knee straight.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

Bilateral Gastrocnemius stretch standing
Bilateral Gastrocnemius stretch

Bilateral Gastrocnemius stretch standing

  • Stand with balls of feet on a step, using banister to steady yourself.
  • Keeping knees slightly bent, gently lower heels.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

Gastroc Stretch on a wedge
Gastroc Stretch

Gastroc Stretch on a wedge

  • Put your foot on a wedge (slanted about 30 degrees) with heel resting on the floor.
  • Keep toes straight and support with hands on the wall.
  • With leg straight press entire body forwards.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

Runner stretch
Runner stretch

Runner stretch

  • Stand facing wall, hands on wall.
  • Step forward with foot of uninvolved leg, leaning hips toward wall.
  • Keep rear leg straight with heel on floor.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.

calf stretch
Calf stretch

Assisted calf stretch

  • With the heel in partner's hand, have your partner gently push your toes your trunk until a stretch is felt.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat for 8 to 10 times.