Also called plantar flexion or calf raise, a heel lift is perhaps an effective stretch for loosening the two major muscles of the calf group, residing behind the leg midway between the ankle and knee. This increases the chance of extending the muscles and making it strong, which can help in increasing the height. Spending significant minutes in heel lifts prior to workout helps in alleviating muscle strain as well as relaxing tight calf muscles.
Three muscles perform the heel raises namely, soleus, gastrocnemius, and plantaris that form up the triceps muscles at the rear of lower leg. Exercising these muscles ensures strong calf muscles, which is essential for day-to-day activities, such as walking, jumping, and standing on tiptoe. Several heel raise exercises exist to tone and strengthen the muscle group.
How to Perform a Simple Heel Lift
Stand with the feet being a bit nearer than the shoulder-width apart and budge the body weight on the toes. With the help of toes, raise your heels as high as you can, in the air such that a stretch is felt in the calves. This is a basic heel lift exercise stretching those triceps muscles.
How to Perform Heel Lift Variations
Several people perform variations of this basic exercise, such as holding dumbbells while lifting or standing on a platform’s edge and plunging the heels below to facilitate muscle growth. Apart from that, listed below are the common variations.
• Alternating Heel Lift: Is a warm-up exercise for gently increasing the flow of blood and toning the calf muscles. To perform this variation, stand in a way such that the feet are a bit apart with arms at sides, shrink the abdominal muscles and straighten the spine, and put all your weight on the left foot. Next, lift the right heel while bending the right knee a bit but without lifting the right foot’s ball from the ground. Now, lower the right heel and then do the same with your left leg.
• Seated Heel Lift: Involves being in a bent knee position so that the soleus muscle is isolated. Herein, you need to be seated straight on a chair with bent knees, flat feet right on the floor, and a bit apart legs. Next, shrink the abdominal muscles while sitting straight. Be in this pose and lift the right heel high while retaining the right foot’s ball on the floor. Now, press your calf at the movement’s top and lower your heel. Do the same with the left leg as well.
• Standing Heel Lift: Affects the size of muscle group. Herein, you need to stand away from a wall (almost 8 to 12 inches far) with feet being a bit apart but parallel and hands on the wall to accomplish a perfect balance. Now, shrink the abdominal muscles, be tall, lift your heels gradually as high as possible, and push the calves atop the movement. Then, lower your back to the floor. Consider transferring the weight to right leg followed by raising the right heel. Now, do the same with the left leg.