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Importance of Stretching

Lower Back StretchAbdominal StretchHip Flexor Stretch

Increases in societies sedentary lifestyles mean we are becoming less and less active, inactivity can lead to muscle stiffness, weakness and imbalances, which can have a negative impact on daily life.

Low back and neck pain are among of the most common outcomes of poor flexibility and poor working postures. We are sitting at our desks for longer, therefore maintaining postures for extended periods, which can subsequently reduce flexibility in certain muscles and increase length in others creating imbalance. it is important to not only asses seated posture but to perform regular stretching exercises to minimise pain and dysfunction.

Reductions in flexibility can have a negative impact on performance, a reduction in gastrocnemius (calf) muscle length and dorsiflexion (Toe towards the knee) can increase the need for hip flexion to lift the knee higher so the foot can clear the ground, therefore placing additional stress on those muscles, which subsequently increases stress on the lateral hip and lower back. Pain may not necessarily show in the gastrocnemius or ankle, but may present in the hip and/or lower back. Like all methods of training flexibility should form part of an overall program.

Sports such as running may appear not to have massive range of motion requirements, however research has demonstrated that it may not be large single joint range required but the combination of joints working together. Gait (walking/running) forms one of the most complex series of actions that the body goes through. performing a stretching routine following all exercise sessions will limit the risk of further imbalance, therefore reducing the likelihood of injury.

This Stretching Program is a general list of stretches that will cover all aspects of the core and legs. For more information on the types of stretching you should be doing and when please contact us on also if you are struggling with an injury and would like an appointment, please call 0141 2214300


Glynn, A. and Fiddler, H. (2009). The Physiotherapists Pocket Guide to Exercise: Assessment, Prescription and Training. Churchill and Livingston, China.

O’Hora, J., Cartwright, A., Wade, C. D., Hough, A. D. and Shum, G. L. K. (2011). Efficacy of static stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretch on hamstring length after a single session. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(6), 1586-1591.

Chen, C. H., Nosaka, K, Chen, H. L., Lin, M. J., Tseng, K. W. and Chen, T. C. (2011). Effects of flexibility training on eccentric exercise muscle damage. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 43(3), 491-500.

Perrier, E. T., Pavol, M. J. and Hoffman, M. A. (2011). The acute effects of a warm up including static or dynamic stretching on counter movement jump height, reaction time and flexibility. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(7), 1925-1931.

Wong, D. P., Chaouachi, A., Lau, P. W. C. and Behm, D. G. (2011). Short durations of static stretching when combined with dynamic stretching do not impair repeated sprints and agility. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 10, 408-416.

Top 5 Exercises for Calf Pain

Gastrocnemius and Soleus Muscle

The gastrocnemius and soleus muscle are part of a powerful group of muscles located at the back of the lower leg. Both muscles insert into the calcaneus (heel bone) via the powerful Achilles tendon. The Gastrocnemius (commonly known as the calf) muscle is the largest of the 2 muscles and is located on top of the Soleus, it has 2 heads, which originate above the knee. This muscle is responsible for flexing the knee and planterflexion (pointing the toe) of the ankle. The Soleus muscle which is located under the Gastrocnemius, originating below the knee joint. The Soleus is responsible for planterflexion of the ankle and inversion of the foot.

Pain within this area can be due to a number of reasons, including muscle tightness through training, pain following a tear or Achilles soreness. General muscle soreness through exercise can be alleviated through stretching, strengthening and adequate recovery. Injury to any structure should be evaluated by a sports medicine professional.


3 Point Calf Raise (on or off a step)

Calf Raise with toes inwardCalf Raise with toes centredCalf Raises with toes outward

The above exercises ensures you will target the entire gastrocnemius/soleus complex, as well as hitting the medial and lateral portions.

In the early stages this exercise should be performed on two feet and on the floor as you strengthen you can progress to doing this off a step and then move onto single leg adding weight as you improve.

Alphabet mobilisation

Alphabet Mobility for the ankle joint

While the typical action of the ankle is plantarflexion (point the toe), dorsiflexion (toe toward knee), inversion (sole of foot inward) and eversion (sole of foot outwards) the foot/ankle performs a highly complex series of movements to enable locomotion. Stiffness in the ankle joint can cause pain not only at the joint but also within the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which may limit performance. Performing mobility exercises such as the alphabets will ensure the ankle is put through a wide range of motion including combination movements, which is more true to real life.

Sitting on a stable surface, isolate the ankle as shown and trace the alphabet with your foot/ankle joint. using small letters first progressing to large letters as this gets easier. ensure each letter is done individually.

Gastrocnemius Stretch

Gastrocnemius Stretch

Standing against the wall, put the leg you wish to stretch behind you, keeping both feet pointing forwards, bend your front knee and shift your body weight forwards, till you feel the stretch in your calf.

Try to maintain a straight line from your shoulder to your heel.

Soleus Stretch

Achilles Stretch

Half Kneeling, place hands on the floor. Bring the ankle to be stretched close to your bottom keeping the sole of your foot on the floor.

Bring your chest forwards, and shift your weight over the sole of your foot. Keep your heel on the floor.

Tibialis Anterior Stretch

Tibiallis Anterior Stretch

Kneeling, sitting on your calves, ensure your feet are flat and lean backwards. if you do not feel this stretch you can put a rolled up towel under your toes. You should feel the stretch along the front of your shin.

Some of the most effective exercises can be added easily into your normal training regime, it is also important to note that preventing the injury from occurring in the first place will ensure you continue your training with minimal disruption. Below is some common exercises to stretch and strengthen this often injured area. Stretches should be held for 30-45 seconds and repeated on both sides. position should be taken to a point of stretch and not pain.

For any further information on the above please contact us at or to book an appointment call 0141 2214300