You can stretch in two ways: You can hold a stretch or pose without any movement, known as a static stretch, or you can stretch the muscles through movement, known as a dynamic, or functional, stretch. Functional stretching has many tremendous benefits, including being an effective full-body warm-up before exercise. One of the most basic, easy and beneficial functional stretches is the calf walk. Functional calf walking will get your heart rate up, your muscles warmed up and your legs looking fabulous, making it a must-have addition to any fitness routine.
Find an area where you can begin practicing calf walking. The space should have a clear path where you can easily walk 10 to 15 steps.
Lift your toes and the balls of your feet off the floor, shifting your weight to your heels, as you tighten your abdominal muscles. You will feel a stretch in your calf muscles.
Walk 10 to 15 steps while holding this position and keeping your body as straight as possible. This functional stretch will warm up your leg muscles and slowly stretch your calves.
Return to the starting position, and then rise onto the balls of your feet. Walk 10 to 15 steps while holding this position and keeping your body as straight as possible. Repeat this series three times to get a thorough leg stretch and warm-up.
- Wear a sturdy pair of shoes during your calf walk stretch for stability and support.
- Combine calf walking with other functional stretches for a complete warm-up routine.
- Stop stretching if you feel pain in your calves or legs.
- Consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Jennifer Kimrey earned her bachelor's degree in English writing and rhetoric from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. She's a regular contributor to the "Houston Chronicle" and her work has appeared on Opposing Views Cultures, The Austin American-Statesman, The Red Vault, The Western Vault and various other websites and publications.