Sarah Harradine (thatsquatbot), personal trainer and blogger, is here to talk you through a series of stretches to help you look after your everyday health and make the most of life, in partnership with Simplyhealth. They’re here to support you every step of the way, throughout your training, on event day and beyond.
Today we’re going to talk about specific stretches for your calves and hamstrings. A muscle group that unsurprisingly can become tight and inflexible and cause issues for a lot of runners.
Your calves are relatively small muscles and receive the brunt of the force when running, and your hamstrings bend the knee then extend the thigh each stride you take, so it’s easy for them both to become fatigued and tight.
When focusing on specific muscle groups it’s important to remember not to overstretch or bounce your stretch which can cause more problems.
Elevated calf stretch – straight knee
Stand on a step or flat elevated surface. Bring one foot to the edge so just the ball of the foot is on the step, then with a straight knee drop weight into your heel.
Elevated calf stretch – bent knee
As above, but bend the knee slightly.
Standing hamstring stretch
Standing with feet hip-width apart, bring one foot forward, and reach down with both hands towards the foot. Experiment with a bent or straight leg to see which is most effective.
Seated hamstring & back stretch
Sit on the floor on your sitting bones, moving your cheeks out of the way. Fold forward until you feel a stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. Experiment with straight and bent legs – bent knees will bring the stretch more to the lower back, straight legs more in the hamstrings.