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In my recent post regarding the Gastrocnemius, we learned a little bit about the function of this muscle and one simple method of stretching and relaxing it via autogenic inhibition. Today, lets have a look at a basic exercise for strengthening that muscle.
A classic and effective calf strengthening exercise is the double leg calf-raise. This will strengthen the gastrocnemius as well as the soleus, which together compose the triceps surae. The great thing about double leg calf raises is that they can be easily performed at home or in a gym/sports club, and can be progressed using a few variables for increased effect.
Here is a description of the exercise from of WebMD.
Starting position: Stand near a wall for balance. Place your feet hip-width apart, and make sure your ankles, knees, and hips are in vertical alignment to protect your joints.
Action: Press down into the balls of both feet to raise your body upward. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in so that you move straight upward, rather than shifting your body forward or backward.
This is a great start for strengthening this important muscle group. In my next post, we’ll look at some reactive/plyometric exercises that incorporate the gastocnemius.