5 Calf Stretches to Become Unstoppable

After a day of intense leg work during your training, your calves can become tight and impair the following day’s workout. Loosening the calf muscles before and after a workout can provide you with the ability to generate power and move both offensively and defensively in the ring. Here are five key stretches you can use to achieve your goals in and out of the ring.

Calf Muscles 101

The calf muscle, on the back of the lower leg, is composed of two parts that can impact both the thigh muscle and the foot. The larger calf muscle (gastrocnemius) is actually made up of two parts as well that form a diamond pattern. You can see this muscle under the skin.

There is a smaller part of the calf muscle (soleus) that attaches to the Achilles tendon which in turn attaches to the foot. This is an important part of the calf muscle because it helps us to flex the foot and ankle.

The leg muscles are the biggest muscles in the body. In boxing, power comes from the ground up, and the legs are key to generating that power. As important as the thigh muscles are, it’s the calves that allow you to move like a boxer. Pivoting and rotating into a punch requires strong, loose calf muscles.

You also need your calf muscles to be loose to jump, sprint or squat during training. If your calf muscles are too tight, it can impair how high you can jump, how fast you can sprint and how low you can squat. Without your calf muscles loosened you are at risk of injury.

Another reason your calf muscles are important is to protect your feet. A boxer’s feet are often overlooked as an important part of the body to keep in good shape. If the calf muscles are too tight it can put stress on the Achilles tendon which can impact the heel (plantar fascia). It can cause pain so that even standing, running or jumping can be difficult to perform. For a boxer, having painful feet can be a huge liability in the ring. In turn, if there is pain in the heel, the calf muscles will tighten up, and the cycle continues. For that reason, shoes with support are a good idea to help keep the heel in good shape and, conversely, your calf and thigh muscles.


It is a good idea to evaluate your calf muscle before and after a workout. Use this evaluation tool to determine how tight your calf muscle is.

  1. First measure three inches from your foot to a wall.
  2. Support yourself as you attempt to touch your knee to the wall keeping your foot flat on the floor.

If you can’t touch your knee to the wall, your calf muscles are too tight. If you can, you have good calf mobility, but try these calf stretches anyway as they’ll help you maintain your range of motion in the future.

There are two kinds of stretches, static-- holding with no movement-- and dynamic-- stretches with movement.

Static Stretches

Ready to stretch? Coach Godfred Anyang demonstrates the five best calf stretches to help you become unstoppable below!

Brace Calf Stretch

brace calf stretch
  1. Use a wall to lean against.
  2. Brace yourself with your arms stretched out and hands against the wall at shoulder height.
  3. Take one step backward with your left leg.
  4. Keep your left leg straight while you bend your right leg, keeping your left heel planted firmly on the ground.
  5. Lean gently, keeping your left heel down. You should feel the stretch in the left leg.
  6. If you want to make the stretch a little more intense, move the left leg back further and repeat. Repeat the process with your left leg forward and right leg back.
  7. You can also stretch your Achilles tendon by putting both feet back and bending your knees slightly, keeping both heels on the ground. This way, the cycle that can tighten up the calf muscles and heel can be interrupted.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward Dog Calf Stretch
  1. Get into plank formation, with hands and feet shoulder width apart on the floor, keeping a firm line from shoulders to ankles. Don’t let your abdomen or hips drop.
  2. Walk your hands inward until your back is elevated and your body forms a triangle.
  3. Push your heels to the floor while keeping your hips elevated, and spine and legs straight. You may not be able to put your heels flat on the floor. Just push the stretch as far as possible.
  4. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute.
  5. Then walk back to plank formation and repeat until you feel the calf muscle loosen.

Plank Crossover Calf Stretch

Plank Crossover Stretch
  1. Get into plank formation, with hands and feet shoulder width apart on the floor, keeping a firm line from shoulders to ankles. Don’t let your abdomen or hips drop.
  2. Take your left leg and cross it over your right heel.
  3. Stretch and press down on the right leg and hold for 30 seconds to a minute. This motion should press your right heel toward the floor.
  4. Switch legs and repeat on the other side.
  5. Make sure that you gently apply pressure, and stop if you feel pain.

Seated Calf Stretch With Resistance Band

5 Calf Stretches
  1. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  2. Take a resistance band and wrap it around your left foot.
  3. Hold the other end of the resistance band and push your foot against the band, while simultaneously pulling gently on the resistance band.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute then switch to the right foot and repeat.

Dynamic Stretches

Eccentric Calf Raises

You will need a box or a step for this stretch, that doubles as a strength and muscle building exercise.Stand on the edge of the box or step with your back heels hanging over the edge.

Eccentric Stretch 1
  1. Gently raise and lower your feet onto your toes and back down again.
  2. You can do variations that affect different parts of your calf muscle.
  3. Turn your toes inward till your big toes are touching.
  4. Then raise and lower your feet.
  5. Turn your toes outward as it is comfortable for you to do and repeat.
  6. Do at least 12 reps for each position.
Eccentric Stretch 2

Stretch it Out

Don’t take your calf muscles for granted. They help you generate the power to punch, defend against a punch and move around the ring. Keep your calf muscles flexible and loose so that you can pivot and rotate into a punch. It is also just as important to keep your calf muscles as flexible as possible to train so that you are a fierce opponent in the ring.Make calf stretches a part of your routine during your next Gloveworx training session, so that you can give your body the best possible chance for success!

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