In this video, I troubleshoot the double calf stretch. I know this Restorative Exercise™ seems super simple, but I find most people who learn it from reading a blog post are doing it in a less than optimal way. I’ve noticed some folks aren’t moving their pelvis at all! They’re so used to flexing from the spine and they lack the posterior leg length that should allow them to rotate forward from the pelvis.
Below is a review of the Double Calf Stretch, which by the way also targets the hamstrings. By doing this exercise, you get a more accurate assessment of the actual length of your posterior leg muscles. Doing this exercise throughout the day coupled with changing how you move, stand and sit will gradually nudge your tissues into an ideal functional length. What I mean by changing your movement habits is to stop telling your hamstrings and calves to shorten all day long. Ways you shorten your calves and hamstrings are by wearing positive heeled shoes (even an inch running shoe will shorten your calves), sitting the bulk of the day, standing or sitting with a posteriorly tilted pelvis, and chronic knee flexion.
The double calf stretch/hamstring stretch:
Do this first without the dome or do it with a rolled up towel if you have been wearing shoes with positive heels most of your life.
- feet ASIS width apart
- balls of your feet on top of the dome or rolled up towel if you are using the props
- heels remain on the floor
- knees fully extended, but not locked
- Hinge forward at the hips while allowing the butt to move behind the ankles. The butt behind the ankles will keep you from falling forward or from gripping your low back.
- Don’t flex the spine, the forward motion is coming from the hip hinge.
- Keep the back of the neck long.
- Relax the pelvic floor and allow the tailbone to float up toward the ceiling.
- Hang out in this stretch for at least a minute several times a day.
- listen to your body, don’t force.
Need more help with your hamstrings? Check out the Alignment Snack Hams and Quads and Stretching The Standing Muscles. Click on the banner below to find your Alignment Homework.
My review of the Quads and Hams class: If you do the stretches in this video, you will never get bored with the same old hamstring stretch again. The stretch may look the same, but by making slight variations to the angles of your pelvis, femurs and feet you get an entirely different stretch. You may also have some interesting ah, ha moments when it comes to your quadriceps muscles.
My review of the Stretching The Standing Muscles: This class includes hamstrings, gastrocnemius, soleus and some bad-ass pelvic listing! Take your pelvic listing to the next level. This is a great class for those who want to be able to walk instead of having to rely on a wheelchair or walker when they’re older. This is also essential for pelvic floor, low back and sacral health. Have your yoga block (or thick book) and your styrofoam dome handy. If you don’t have a dome, you can use a rolled up towel or yoga mat, but you may eventually want to get a dome.
Want to learn how to incorporate healthy movement into your day without having to go to the gym? I’ve created a “How to get more healthy movement into your day” video series exclusively for Alignment Monkey Patrons. The series includes short videos describing how to get more healthy movement into your day without having to go to the gym. This is a way to restore your pelvic floor by doing what you’re already doing in the day, but just doing it better. Did you know that you could fold your laundry and brush your teeth in a way that is beneficial for your pelvic floor? And no, it’s not about Kegels. Click HERE.