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Calf Muscle Strengthening

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Updated September 15, 2008

Overview:

Toe raises describe a specific exercise used to strengthen the calf muscles. The calf muscles, medically known as the gastrocnemius, act to point the toes by moving the ankle into a downward position. It is a strong muscle group that includes two muscular heads that terminate as the achillies tendon at the heel.

The calf muscle is important during walking as well as activities that involve running and jumping. It is very susceptible to muscular strain injuries. After injury, it is important to begin strengthening the affected calf muscle as soon as possible to prevent atrophy, or a loss of muscle mass.

Seated Toe Raises:

Initially toe raises can be done in the seated position. This takes most of the weight off the calf muscle during strengthening, but not so much that the muscle is not "worked."

Perform as follows:
Sit in a chair with both feet on the ground
Pushing down through the toes raise your heel off the ground
Hold the position for 10 seconds
Repeat 10 times

Standing Toe Raises:

This exercise is more advanced than the seated toe raise, as it places the entire weight of the body on the exercised leg.

Perform as follows:
Stand upright on both feet
Push down through your toes lifting both heels off the ground
Hold this position for 10 seconds

Repeat 10 times

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