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I've been doing karate for years now, but I've noticed that my calves and hip flexors are extremely inflexible. My knees can barely move past my toes when flexing my calves, and my hip flexors are so short that I cannot fully square my hips forward while in forward stance. Which stretches would be the most efficient way to allow me to bend my calves much deeper and to lengthen my hip flexors so I can further extend my legs behind my hips?

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Calf Muscle Flexibility

The important thing to remember about the calf and heel cord are that there are actually 2 muscles that need to be stretched, the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

  1. The first is done with the knee straight and the
  2. Second is done with the knee bent.

    When doing these stretches make sure that your heel is aligned with the toes so that you are actually stretching your calf, not just collapsing your arch.

    Questions and answers that have good heel cord and calf muscle stretching exercises for squatting include:

Hip Flexor Flexibility:

Both the iliopsoas and the rectus femoris, part of the quadriceps muscles, cross the hip joint.

  1. Psoas - To stretch the psoas the 1/2 kneel lunge position is a good stretch.
  2. Quads - The quads cross both the hip and knee joints. To stretch the quads you need to bend the knee and extend the hip to stretch both parts of the muscles.

    To be most effective in gaining range of motion, stretches are best done on a daily basis after warm-up or activity.

  • The psoas stretch is really terrific, I've been doing that on a daily basis now for a while along with other hip mobility flexor work. +1, nice and clean answer. – Eric May 6 '15 at 18:16
  • @Eric, thanks and yes it is a good stretch, but you mention "daily" which is also key. (And I will add that to the answer - thanks.) – BackInShapeBuddy May 7 '15 at 5:54

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