Starting Position: Stand facing a wall, arms length away with your feet hip-width apart and facing forward. Extend your arms to place your palms on the wall slightly higher than your shoulders. Stiffen (“brace”) your core abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, then depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders down and back) without arching your low back. Step back with your RIGHT leg into a split-stance position keeping both feet flat on the floor and toes pointing forward. Keep your head in line with your spine.
Begin slowly moving your body towards the wall keeping your pelvis and spine in alignment. Do not allow your hips to tilt forward. Increase the flexion (bend) in your LEFT (front) knee while keeping the opposite leg straightened and pushing the heel into the floor keeping your foot in dorsi-flexion with toes pointed forward. Support your body weight with your arms, allowing your elbows to bend as you shift your weight forward. Increase the stretch by bringing your body closer to the wall and increasing the flexion (bend) in your left knee and continue pressing your right heel into the ground.
Hold the stretch position for 15-30 seconds at a time for a total of 2-4 repetitions; try to move into the stretch a little deeper with each repetition, but be sure to keep your body in alignment and heels in contact with the floor. Complete all repetitions on one side before alternating to the other leg.
Exercise Variation: To increase the stretch in the soleus, slightly flex (bend) the back knee while pressing the heel into the floor.