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When I am doing a calf stretch is it ok to hang off a step?

Hanging off a step seems like a good idea since it increases your range of motion during stretching but it’s actually counterproductive. When you step off the step your calf muscle instinctively contracts in preparation for landing, so what you’re doing is performing an eccentric movement by trying to lengthen the calf muscle while it’s contracted. The calf cannot relax and is not adequately stretched.

You can perform a calf stretch by hanging your heels off a step but it can put strain on your Achilles tendon. I start everyone off with a calf stretch by placing the foot in a dorsiflexed position, limiting the chances that the stretch will be performed with bad form. You can do this stretch using a curb outside, a step, a wall, a Prostretch®, or any elevated surface that allows you to put your foot in a dorsiflexed position.

After placing the foot to be stretched, walk your other foot forward. Stand with good posture and lean over without your butt sticking out. If the stretch is too strong, simply back off and reposition your foot with less elevation. If you need more of a stretch, walk the foot you are not stretching forward, passing the foot you are stretching. Hold your stretch for 30 seconds.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.