Solving Tight Calves

Statue in Florida leaning forward and being held up by his calf muscles.

Have you tried a thousand calf muscle stretches without any success? Well you're in luck because I'm about to tell you why that doesn't work. If you don't understand WHY the muscle tightened up in the first place, it will never let go unless you get lucky. And if you're like me, which I'm guessing you are since you're reading this, praying for lady luck is unacceptable.

If you stretch a tight muscle, you're basically saying that it got tight randomly and for no reason. This just does not happen. There's always a reason. Maybe the reason is that you've done 100,000 calf raises. Then stretching it may be appropriate. But assuming you have not, we have to look deeper.

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Generally speaking, the gastroc (calf) will take over for a hamstring that is not doing it's jump. 

For you to really understand what I'm talking about, let's do a quick exercise. Stand up, give yourself some room and slowly lean forward. As you fall forward, your calves are going to lean forward. 

That lean is more than likely your problem. 

Our whole world is about propelling you forward. All of your exercises, when you run, when you walk, when you use your visual system. It's all pushing you forward. This is why I spend so much time working on variability. The percentage of forward to backwards in your life is so skewed that when the body's prediction cycle kicks in, the answer is easy and your calves are left to hold you upright.

The gastroc is left to constantly fight gravity and hold your body upright and that leads to chronic tightness of this muscle. Solving the gastroc problem means giving it's job back to the rightful owner. We will have to re-employ the hamstrings, glutes and abs to allow your body to settle into a comfortable position. 

Now it's time to learn the exercises you can use solve tight calves.

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