Stretches for your Calves and Hamstrings
Calves and hamstrings unsurprisingly can become tight and inflexible and cause issues for many ultramarathon participants.
Your calves are relatively small muscles and receive the brunt of the force when running, this is especially true when trail running given the amount of hill involved. While your hamstrings bend the knee then extend the thigh each stride you take, so it’s easy for them to become fatigued and tight.
Here are some specific stretches for your calves and hamstrings to ease tension and fatigue. When focusing on specific muscle groups like these, it’s especially important to remember not to overstretch or bounce your stretch which can cause more problems.
Do 10 repetitions of each stretch, on each side of your body:
ELEVATED CALF STRETCH – STRAIGHT KNEE
Stand on a step or flat elevated surface. Bring one foot to the edge so just the ball of the foot is on the step, then with a straight knee drop weight into your heel.
ELEVATED CALF STRETCH – BENT KNEE
As above but bend the knee slightly.
STANDING HAMSTRING STRETCH
Standing with feet hip-width apart, bring one foot forward, and reach down with both hands towards the foot. Experiment with a bent or straight leg to see which is most effective.
SEATED HAMSTRING & BACK STRETCH
Sit on the floor on your sitting bones, moving your cheeks out of the way. Fold forward until you feel a stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. Experiment with straight and bent legs – bent knees will bring the stretch more to the lower back, and straight legs more in the hamstrings.
It’s important to warm up and cool down properly every time you run, to reduce the risk of injury.
If you are looking for specialist training tips and advice ahead of running an ultramarathon then check out our training plans here.
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