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Good, gentle hamstring & calf stretches for the inflexible

Updated on November 1, 2007

Tight hamstrings and calf muscles can be quite painful and cause problems with the knee joint. I have made it a daily routine to stretch after my daily cycling. My stretch routine includes the calf, hamstrings, quads and lower back muscles. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is NOT TO RUSH THROUGH A STRETCH ROUTINE.

To stretch the calves and hamstrings stand upright with the feet about shoulder width apart, bend over forward slowly with the knees locked straight and try to reach your toes with the tip of your fingers. Slowly reach further and further until the palm of your hands touch the ground (or as far as you can reach). Hold your position for 30 seconds then slowly return to the upright position. Repeat once. This stretch also helps with the lower back muscles. The best part of this stretch routine is that it takes less than two minutes and treats three major muscles.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Seriously, I stopped reading at 'bend over' and 'lock knees.'

    • 2patricias profile image


      10 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Watch this too if  you have lumbar disc issues or low bone density, the forward bending may not be advisable for individuals with these issues.

    • vic profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Thank you for your informative comments Marisa.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      If you have been doing the exercise for years, it's going to do you no harm at all. And it's certainly true that the exercise was done for decades before modern exercise physiologists started getting worked up about it! People with bad knees may experience trouble because the locked knees are being forced backwards as you bend forward. The other big problem is that people often don’t follow your advice of doing it gently, and try to force themselves lower, which puts strain on the lower back and hamstrings. The final thing is that it’s not a hugely effective stretch if you’re not already flexible, because if you have tight hamstrings they’ll stop you long before the calves even get a look-in, and so on.

    • vic profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Thank you Marisa for your comment. This is the method that I have used for years. What damage should one be concerned about?

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      Be careful, this is basically the old "bend over and touch your toes" and can do damage if you do it with locked knees like this.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      Great advice; thanks Vic!


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