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January 24, 2017

CALF RAISES : CORRECT TECHNIQUE





Calves are also known as "second heart of the body" as these muscles work like pumping the blood back to the heart in an anti gravity direction. If this muscle does not work properly, disorders like spider veins or varicose veins occur and that is really painful.

Exercise for strengthening calves are based on second class lever (i.e. large resistance can be moved by a relatively small force) in the body. Few exercises are standing calf raises, seated calf raises, leg press calves raises (three foot position), donkey calf raises etc, and can be done both bilaterally and unilaterally. But proper technique requires to be followed rather than just pushing upwards with extreme load which can further cause spinal and joint disorders.

Anatomy of Calves Muscle




Calf muscle is made up of two muscles i.e. the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which helps in pulling heels off the ground in the most basic functional movement like walking. The tendon of calves muscles attaches to the heel via achilles tendon and connects to plantar fascia (now known as plantar aponeurosis), The plantar fascia is the thick connective tissue (aponeurosis) which supports the arch on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. It runs from the tuberosity of the calcaneus (heel bone) forward to the heads of the metatarsal bones (the bone between each toe and the bones of the mid-foot).



Poor Technique


While walking or running, when heel is lifted, it is executed by the calves muscles. But in the case of strengthening and conditioning(of) or just exercising the calves, the movement should be executed with proper technique to make the exercise SEE (safe, effective and efficient). I have seen most of the people who do calf raises exercise, they keep their toes outward with unnecessarily heavy resistance and then lift their heels upwards. In such case, the foot supinates and centre of gravity of the resistance moves away from the line of gravity of the working muscles (or line of muscle fibres), this further leads to taxing other muscles to work and changing the joints position in articulation. Such movements can affect the knee and hip joints and ultimately the spinal muscles too according to the muscular chain system of posterior kinetic chain muscles (achilles tendon, calves, hams, gluteals, thoraco-lumbar fascia, lats, and full erector spinae). 

As per postural analysis principles, all the movement defects raises from the position of foot either standing stationery or moving. Doing calf raises with incorrect technique can gift patello-femoral syndrome, excess knee valgus, posterior pelvic tilt, loss of lumbar lordosis and other later chronic muscle imbalances or disorders. Similarly, doing toes-in is another poor technique to do calf raises workout.

Proper Technique

1. Feet forward and parallel to each other.
2. Heels underneath shoulder line.
3. Knees slightly bend. (locking the knees during calf raise can put unnecessary excessive compressive forces which can lead to chronic loss of articular cartilage of the knee joint)
4. Gluteals active or on (by doing this, the resistance from centre of gravity will be distributed into all working muscles )
5. Lower down the heels as your joint or muscle's flexibility allows.
6. While pushing upwards the heels, do it with full force to increase the explosive strength of calves.
7. last but not the least, keep watching your feet position to stay in the proper exercise posture.


CAUTION:  DO NOT FOLLOW the unprofessional guidance you get inside the gym by any gym rats. The only guide is the qualified professionals OR science itself.




1 comment:

  1. This has really helped me and really given me inspiration. I have only just started my lifting weights loss journey and its good to know what I will come across and how to tackle it! Thank you x

    ReplyDelete

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