Pilates Calf Stretch: Tight calf muscles are a real problem. Whether your out and about walking or running or climbing mountains, or lead a more sedentary life (oh NO!), you calves can tighten up. I have also found that if your calves are tight, so may your hamstrings (back of thigh) also be tight.
You can test this by bending over and trying to touch your toes as you could when you're a kid. I have students who begin their classes with terrible problems and unconvinced that stretches can work. But, do you know what? The DO! Those people though are the ones most surprised when relieved of their pain.
Yoga people call this one the downward dog. The function of the calves, when strong and flexible, is to facilitate excellent forward movement allowing us to walk and run effortlessly by bending at the knee and ankle.
Tight muscles here often go hand in hand with tight hamstrings and are frequently responsible for pain in the achilles tendon and heel as well as pain and problems with the knees.
Nothing wrong with Mr. Fin's achilles, he performs the downward dog exercise almost as well as Stephanie.
The idea is to gently encourage your heel down towards the floor or the ground if you out in a lovely park like Stephanie– with legs straight, or as straight as you can get them and upper body relaxed with head heavy. Try to move your butt back over towards where you feet are.
It would be wise to stretch out your achilles tendon this way:
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Another exercise can be done on steps. Ensure there is a rail to hold on to and place the toes and ball of both feet on the edge of one step, and allow the heel to move down towards the next. Hold for around 20 seconds and if you are very tight, a couple of times a day will get these muscles back into good working order in no time.
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