The Insanity Workout is almost complete. It’s almost everything you need to effect a total body transformation in only 2 months. Including a fantastic Nutrition Plan, a host of workouts that will make you a new person if they don’t break you, a wall Calendar to track your workouts, an online support community and all the information you need to begin your incredible journey, it seems like a galaxy of support and encouragement and challenge. But there’s a crucial component missing. There’s something that people notice a couple of weeks in, something without which leads to increased soreness, increased pain, and makes the workout harder than it needs to be. What’s this crucial component? Don’t laugh folks, I’ve received endless complaints from people who have noticed this deficiency: calf stretches.
Whoa, I hear you cry! That’s it? Calf stretches? Let’s summon Air Marshall Nitpicking, shall we? But hold on, don’t get all derisive. Think about it. You’re working out six days a week. Jumping, jumping, jumping, doing endless cardia and calisthenics. From football and basketball drills to the most basic of jumping jacks, you’re driving those calves like they’re pistons in a NASCAR (I’m not 100% sure about that metaphor). But check the stretch. Over and over again Shaun T has you go through the basic yoga positions (though he won’t call them that), has you stretch out your thighs, your groin, everything and anything but not the calf muscles. Why not?
Simple. For a good calf stretch you need either a towel or a wall to lean against. It’s just very hard to stretch out your calf in a free standing position like Shaun T finds himself in every workout, out there in that basketball court like he is. Could he look you in the eye and tell you to simply go to your living room wall and do a calf stretch? Yeah he could. But would that flow with the rest of the exercises? No it wouldn’t.
The result is thousands of people across the nation limping up and down staircases, calf muscles knotted until somewhere around week 3 their muscles become accustomed to this new level of intensity and unsnarl themselves.
Ok, so what can you do? I simply pause the stretch just before it ends and do the following calf stretch. It’s simple, basic, and gets the job done. Are there other ways to stretch your calves? Heck to the tenth power yes! But this will do in a pinch, and keeps Air Marshall Nitpicker quiet, so there’s that too. Place both hands against the wall. Now, form a straight line from the crown of your head to the heel of the leg you’re stretching out by extending that leg out straight behind you. Lean forward, placing your weight on the ball of your foot, and push your heel into the ground. You should get a delicious stretch as your depressing heel pulls your calf taut. Hold for five breaths, and then do the other leg.
There you go. Stretch complete, press play, and go Insane. A small detail, but a crucial one. By just including this stretch, you’ll alleviate soreness, make it easier to spring into those exercises, and almost make the P90X Results & Recovery drink unnecessary. ALMOST.
Now get out there and get crazy!
Can you also do a down dog to strech the calf?
Absolutely, Josh. A down dog stretch would be great. Just pedal those feet and get the most out of it 😉
However, when you go into a low knees wide stretch, you are stretching the calfs. I could see if you can’t get very low in your stretches where you could be sore though.
I noticed this bigtime in the Insanity workout and also no calf stretching in the Chalean Extreme workout. When I did Insanity last time, my calves got so tight, even when I tried to incorporate calf stretches. My tight calves I think contributed to an achilles tendon injury that took 8 weeks of physical therapy to fix . Luckily I didn’t tear it completely! Anyway, I am about to try Insanity again and nervous about the calves and protecting the achilles tendon but I am just going to try to stretch after the warmups and after the workout and again later that night and hopefully stay injury free.
I absolutely love Insanity. It’s just what I was looking for, lots of cardio. However, after doing a couple of CD’s I quickly learned that Shawn starts off, for me, way too extreme and too fast. I have to do a warm up prior to starting the CD otherwise I tend to go too easy on the session he calls the “warm up”.