Well it is another Friday and time for another Feel Good Friday blog post. This week we will return our focus to the ankle complex. If you recall from a blog post a couple weeks back the ankle plays a large role in running. Even more of a role for runners as they get older. Today we will look at and target the soleus muscle which plays a role in ankle movement.
The soleus muscle is one of two large muscles in the calf. The gastrocnemius is the muscle that you typically see especially as you watch someone perform standing calf raises. The soleus sits underneath the gastrocnemius and aids in deceleration of the tibia. This is the lower leg, and during running it comes forward as the ankle dorsiflexes and the tibia angles forward. Dorisflexion is the foot bending backward toward the shin.
The soleus is not worked enough through the standard standing calf raises. Today I will share an exercise that you can do to target it. The soleus muscle makes up the Achillies tendon. As such strengthening it can help prevent and reduce Achilles tendon stress. The soleus calf raise can help build strength endurance since the soleus helps to push. Building strength endurance will allow you to apply your strength repeatedly over a long extended period of time. Running is a great example, but also activities where a lot of stress takes place around the ankle complex.
Some progressions of the exercise you can do can would be to add weight in the form of dumbbells, or a weight vest. Another progression could also be to begin doing the exercise unilaterally, one leg at a time. You can also progress the unilateral version of this exercise by increasing weights the weight used as well.