Kinesiology of Exercise
Heel Raise (Calf Raise)
The heel raise exercise, when done through a full range of motion, is one of the most effective and important exercises for almost all athletes and fitness buffs. Because of this, it belongs in almost everyone's arsenal of exercises.
Ankle joint extension is a key action in all walking, running, and jumping activities. It provides the final push in propelling the body forward and upward as needed in race walking, running (especially sprinting), high jumping, and long jumping. It is also used in jumping for a spike in volleyball, the jump shot in basketball, the block in volleyball and basketball, jump height in diving, the push-off in the swimming start, and in the jump when jumping on the trampoline.
- If you find that it is too difficult to go through the maximum range, use less resistance so that you can go as high and as low as possible. For most effective muscle development, it is very important to have full ROM. If you are still unable to rise up high enough, you most likely have tight tendons and muscles. To increase the range of motion, you should do various ankle stretching exercises. One of the most popular stretches is leaning into a wall with your feet 1-2 feet away from the wall with your heels on the floor. You then rise up, hold for a moment or two and then lower the heels until they are in full contact with the ground. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds and then repeat.
- To develop some of the assisting muscles and to bring in other foot actions,you should change foot positions. For example, point your toes inward and then rise up. This positioning forces some inversion and development of the tibialis posterior (along with the muscles used in ankle joint extension).
- Pointing the toes outward and then doing heel raises uses foot eversion and the muscles
involved (the three peroneal and the extensor digitorum longus muscles located on the lateral sides of the lower legs). Placing the feet wider or narrower also changes the stress on the muscles and gives more all-around development. Be sure to keep the legs straight as you do these two variants.
- The gastrocnemius muscle is best developed when heel raises are done with the legs kept straight. In this position the muscle pulls very effectively in almost a straight line. However, if the knees are bent slightly, the gastrocnemius is less involved and greater stress falls on the soleus.
- The gastrocnemius is a two-joint muscle, crossing both the ankle and knee joints. Therefore, for maximum development it should be worked from both ends. To
involve the gastrocnemius most effectively at the knee joint, knee curls or glute-ham-gastroc raises should be done.
- Pointing the toes outward and then doing heel raises uses foot eversion and the muscles involved (the three peroneal and the extensor digitorum longus muscles located on the lateral sides of the lower legs). Placing the feet wider or narrower also changes the stress on the muscles and gives more all-around development. Be sure to keep the legs straight as you do these two variants.
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