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An awesome set of thick, diamond-shaped calves is one of those “little” things that really sets a great physique apart from a mediocre one.

Small, under-developed calves, on the other hand, become a glaring weak point as your upper body develops and also give the rest of your legs a bad name. You could be squatting 400 pounds but if your calves aren’t up to snuff, it’ll look like you’ve got chicken legs. (And trust me, I know–I neglected my calves for far too long and am playing catch up now!)

Muscular, strong calves aren’t just for looks either–they help support and stabilize your body during lifts like the Deadlift and Squat, and also during just about every sport you can name. In fact, strong, developed quads and hamstrings can be counterproductive in many sports unless you’ve got calves strong enough to control the force the upper leg can generate as it gets transferred into the ground and redirected.

The calves are one of the most overused and overlooked muscles in the body, and if you wear heels, run regularly, or both, stretching your calves is a must, since tight, shortened calves can lead to injury. These five calf stretches can be done almost anywhere, so click through to learn how to do them and then add these stretches to your daily routine!

Standing Calf Raise (if you could only do one, this should be it)
Seated Calf Raise
Calf Press
Donkey Calf Raise
Smith Machine Calf Raises