How do you know if your gastrocnemius needs some attention? The short story: because we all neglect this muscle. The gastroc is one of the most-used muscles in the body, and it tends to be a mess of adhesion and tightness.

Yoga Tune Up® Calf Stretch is a closed chain static stretch for your posterior chain that will lengthen your gastrocnemius muscle. Hold this pose until you feel change in the length of the gastroc. Remember that this muscle is used every time we take a step and lift up onto our toes or push the gas pedal. The gastrocnemius a hard worker, and it may take some time in this calf exercise to get it to unwind and lengthen. Don’t rush the process.

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John Greenhow

I am a personal trainer and yoga teacher in the Niagara area. I love teaching people how to move with strength and stability. I'm passionate about healthy living through lifting heavy, eating well, and using Yoga Tune Up® to move with grace and balance!

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Mary D

Great calf stretch. My calves are tight and achy. We tend to forget the muscles in the back body. I also use the Yoga Tune Up balls to stretch my calves. They work wonders.


Thank you for this. My movement “career” started with Ballet when I was 7 years old and – maybe due to my early practice of moving on tiptoes – I still suffer from stiff calves and not being able to touch down with my heels in various Yoga positions (Downward Dog most obviously). I appreciate all new stretches that will help lengthening my gastrocnemius and other calf muscles.


Great to read your blog post! I never realized that the gastoc was also involved in driving too….. Time for some strechting and rolling!

Johanne Leroux

C’est lorsque l’on roule sur ce muscle avec les balles thérapeutiques que l’on réalise à quel point il est contracté et, par conséquent, son manque de souplesse. Merci pour cette vidéo!

Heather Dawson

Having many runner sand being a runner this is one of my favourite stretches.

Serge Goyette

Those calf stretch are really helpful for me, I’ve started to put in my practice since the first day I returned from the tune up training. My ankles used to be very week due to the fact that I twisted one of them back in my younger age. Now that I realized all the benefits of the the exercices, I’m addidcted


Great demonstration and directions on this lower leg stretch. I have also incorporated different movements in this stretch to help address any myofascial limitations that may be limiting range of motion in this gastrocnemius area. The idea is to perform the “stretch” as you have so nicely done, but then add some very easy side to side movements using the hips as the driver. It helps in feeling different sensations in the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius.


Thanks for highlighting the calf muscles and just how often they are tight and restrictive. Recently incorporating Yoga Tune Up therapy balls to massage my gastrocs and soleus have helped me to find new length and lift in my step! I like the stretch demonstrated as it addresses both major calf muscles through the stretch with the knee straight and then bent.


I ended up with tendonitis in my knee from ignoring my gastrocnemius muscle. using the Roll model ball and stretching has made all the difference in the health of my knees.


Hi again,
this stretch feels like just what my gastroc ordered!
I’ll try it right now and hopefully, I can incorporate it in my evening routine to let go of all the tension I’ve accumulated during the day


2 years ago I retrained myself to correct my running gait from the dreaded HEEL strike to a MIDFOOT strike. UGH. Years of terrible running form had atrophied my calves, or more precisely, my gastrocnemius. It took months, LITERALLY MONTHS to get through the transition before I could run more than a few miles before melting into the pavement like a mewling kitten. John, your post could have saved me from months of ice baths and stumbling down stairs! Nevertheless, it’s great to have a great recovery plan like this for the future.


I can never stretch my calves long enough! Through dance they’ve always been very tight and I’ve always had major cramping. Calf stretches are something I can NEVER get enough of. Great video.

Jason Campbell

I broke my right ankle a year ago, and have to do this stretch very regularly to help prevent muscles cramps and get better movement in my ankles again. I hadn’t thought of adding the knee bend, i’ll start adding that today.

Linh Taylor

I didn’t realize how tight my gastrocnemius is until I roll on YTU balls. It’s so tight it’s hurt. I think I’ll start with this exercise before rolling on the balls. In addition to daily driving, I also rock climb, and with my short physique, I’m often on my toes. This stretch is very useful.

jennifer lovely

I love placing therapy balls on my gastroc rolling it out and realizing just how much tightness is inside that muscle. After doing that I can plantar flex much better.


Love this! Almost everyone I know has tight calf muscles, and they neglect them when considering their hamstring flexibility and capacity for forward folding.

Aaron Porter

Great clip and exercise to help lengthen the Gastroc. This should be done at least twice a day. I have such tight calves. Once you do this exercise you will be increase range of motion in the ankle and this range of motion will be increase as you walk though out the day.




I have never put much thought into my gastrocnemius, but sometimes feel tightness and adhesion in it. In my family, we tend to have very strong gastrocnemius muscles and this will be a very simple and effective excercie for everyone to access. Thank you.