Having recently blogged about Multiplanar Strengthening Exercises, I also want to look at stretching in multiple planes of motion.
One muscle group which is regularly reported as being tight in athletes of all sorts are the muscles of the lower leg:
- Gastrocnemius (calf muscle)
- Soleus (deeper and lower than the main calf muscle)
- Tibialis Posterior (deeper and lower and more medial than the main calf muscle)
- Peroneals (as a sub group)
- Toe Flexors (another sub group particularly FHL)
As I discussed in the Multiplanar Strengthening Exercises post: although the overall movement of the body is often straight line, the contributing movements joint by joint are almost always a mixture of movements in all three planes of motion. Therefore muscles controlling these joints and producing movement need to be stretched and kept mobile in all three planes.
If we look at a classic calf stretch where everything is in a straight line, the calf muscles are being stretched with the foot and ankle moving into end of range dorsiflexion, however there isn’t normally much of a stretch into pronation and supination.
Have a look at the video above and see how as we move the front leg across the body and back in a calf stretch position it works the rear foot through passive pronation and supination – thoroughly stretching the overlaying muscles in all three planes of motion.
Give it a go!