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2 Seated Soleus Stretches (Overcome Tight Lower Legs)

Christiana Mikesch
Published by Christiana Mikesch
Last updated: March 30, 2023

I often find I have tight calf muscles that can impact my leg workouts. And while there are many forms of soleus stretches, there is one that I have found to be more effective both for a warm-up and cooldown phase.

Most people don’t pay much attention to the seated soleus stretch, so I got my physio to help me put together some instructions and a few alternatives that you can use to effectively stretch your lower leg muscles.

Let me show you how easy it is.

Quick Summary

  • The seated soleus stretch allows you to apply the right amount of stretch while not having to worry about balancing or overstretching the calves.
  • Where you have a tight soleus muscle from sitting at a desk or some tough strength building, this stretch will make a big difference.
  • You can even add a simple standing version in between exercises if you feel like it’s getting tight again.

How Do You Stretch Soleus Seated?

Using a resistance band to perform soleus seated stretch

In order to stretch the soleus muscle seated, you have to adjust the ankle joint angle further than you can by just flexing it.

You need to use some sort of leaning or pulling movement that extends the entire calf muscle.

You can do this by lifting one leg up and leaving the other foot on the ground, and then pulling your toes towards your body.

Or you can leave your feet on the ground with one foot under the chair and then lean forward to increase the stretch.

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Easy Seated Soleus Stretch

Here are some more detailed instructions to help you do this stretch in a seated position:

  • Start off by sitting on the front edge of a chair or bench with both feet on the ground.
  • Lift your right knee up, leave the other foot on the ground, and use both hands to grab hold of your toes.
  • Pull the toes up towards the right knee and feel a stretch in your soleus muscle.
  • Lower the right knee down and repeat the same on the other side.

Alternatively, you can place the right foot on the ground slightly under the chair and then lean forward to increase the stretch.

Some Alternative Options

Alternative options for seated soleus stretch

If you find the seated position isn’t giving you enough of a stretch, then you can always use these ones to achieve more using your body weight.

1. Standing Stretch

You can easily follow these instructions in between exercises:

  • Stand with one foot under your hips and the other foot slightly behind you.
  • Bend the back knee slightly until you feel the stretching sensation.
  • Hold it for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

2. Wall Lunge

Here is another standing version where you need a wall or other solid vertical surface:

  • Stand with both legs straight about two feet away from a wall.
  • Extend the right leg forward and place your toes against the wall about five inches off the floor while pushing your heel to the ground.
  • Lean towards the wall and feel a stretch in your soleus.

How Often Should You Do These Stretches?

Performing stretch on legs

You should do a seated soleus stretch before every lower body workout.

It’s also a good idea to add it as part of a cooldown if you’ve been training your calf muscles [1].

The other thing you might consider is doing these stretches once or twice a day if you sit at a desk for long periods of time.

Sitting can add tightness to the gastrocnemius muscle as it doesn’t get used as much throughout the day [2].

You could also use a foam roller to gently massage the muscles and improve blood circulation.

“The soleus is essential for everyday activities, such as running, walking, standing, dancing, and balancing.”

- William Morrison, M.D.


How Do You Release A Tight Soleus?

The best way to release a tight soleus is with a seated soleus stretch. Doing this while sitting down gives you a lot more control over the amount of stretch you place on these muscles.

What Is The Cause Of Tight Soleus Muscles?

The main causes of tight soleus muscles are sitting down for long periods of time and tough strength training. Doing a seated soleus stretch can significantly reduce that tightness and only takes a few minutes to complete.

Reduce Lower Leg Muscle Tightness

If you’re heading into a leg workout session and you feel like your lower legs are tight and tense, then add a seated soleus stretch to your warm-up. You can also use a foam roller for a couple of minutes to loosen the muscle fibers.

The other thing I would suggest to get more out of your workout session is to invest in a high-quality pre-workout supplement:

Along with good stretching for your warm-up, these will provide you with some boosted performance and endurance.


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