Do's & Don'ts While Doing Soleus Stretches

The calf muscles consist of the lower soleus muscle and the upper gastrocnemius muscles. Together they form the calf muscle group that is responsible for a variety of our everyday activities.

From walking to running, jumping to stretching, the calf muscles need to be strong and healthy to function properly. The soleus muscle in conjunction with the gastrocnemius muscle is made of slow-twitch muscle fibers and carries out repeated actions such as flexion of the ankles.

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The soleus muscles gets strained easily if you have overexerted yourself during a workout or while playing sports such as soccer, basketball, and running. The muscle fibers get torn and strained resulting in pain, stiffness, bruising and soreness. Tightness and pain in the calf muscles also translates into other problems such as tight hamstrings, ankle injuries, an imbalanced pelvis, and lower back pain. Therefore stretching your calf muscles especially soleus stretching exercises can improve stability, flexibility, and endurance.

Soleus stretches and gastroc soleus stretches performed both before and after your exercise routine can help prevent these injuries. When you include soleus stretching exercises into your warm up routine, you are increasing the flow of blood and warming up the muscles to perform better. Stretching as part of your cool down reduces the build up of lactic acid in your muscles and prevents soreness, muscle fatigue and injury.

How To Stretch The Soleus Muscle

There are several simple soleus stretches that you can add to your exercise routine:

Soleus Stretch

  1. Stand in front of a wall with one leg ahead of the other and both feet pointed towards the wall.
  2. Place your palms on the wall at shoulder height for support.
  3. Bend the knee of your back leg and press the heel into the floor.
  4. Lean your hips forwards, pushing into the wall and feel the stretch in your back leg.
  5. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Soleus Stretch II

  1. Place one foot in front of the other and place the toes on a step or elevated platform.
  2. Bend the knee of the front leg.
  3. Lean forward till you feel the stretch on your lower soleus muscle.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Advanced Soleus Stretch

  1. Place your toes on the edge of a step or elevated platform.
  2. Hang the heels off the back and bend at the knees.
  3. As your heels lower to the ground you will feel this stretch on your soleus muscles.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Calf Muscle Stretch

  1. Stand straight and take a small step forward with one leg.
  2. Keeping your heels firmly on the ground, bend at your knees and sink downwards.

  3. You will feel this stretch just above the heel of your back leg.
  4. Sink lower with your hips to intensify this stretch.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds and change legs.

Soleus Stretch : Do's & Don'ts

As long as these stretches are done properly, you will receive all the benefits. Some soleus stretches do's and don’ts include

Do's

  • Start stretching only after you have warmed up your muscles.
  • You can do this by jogging or walking briskly.
  • Stretching cold muscles can do more harm than good.
  • Soleus stretches should be done slowly and carefully.
  • Breathe normally and through your nose to further improve the blood circulation to the muscles.
  • This also helps reduce soreness and alleviates pain.
  • Always hold a stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds each as this gives the muscles enough time to relax.
  • Holding a stretch for a lesser time than 30 seconds is of no use at all.
  • Remember the deeper you sink into your stretch, the more your muscles will lengthen.
  • However, move into deeper stretches gradually as you build up more strength and flexibility.

Don'ts

  • Never overstretching the muscle, stretching only to the point of mild discomfort and stopping the exercise if there is any sharp pain.
  • Avoid bouncing in any of the poses at all costs.

If you are suffering from an injury or and ankle sprain, consult your doctor or trainer before doing any soleus stretches.

Soleus Stretch Benefits

  • If done regularly, you will slowly improve the flexibility of your calf muscles as well as that of your ankles.
  • Ankle rotation and range of motion improves resulting in better performances on field as well.
  • Soleus muscle stretches reduce the risk of injury and build stamina.
  • Stretching can also reduce soreness and aid healing after an injury.
  • It is one of the best rehabilitative measures available for tight and unused muscles post any injury.
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