Heel Raises (calf raises)
I tried to explain to someone the importance of this exercise and strengthening this muscle.
This will strengthen the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, the calf muscles. These muscles, when contracted, will plantarflex the foot(point the toes). So when you do this exercise in standing, the only way to point the toes is to lift the body and raise the heels off of the ground. This exercise looks easy but can be quite hard. When you do this exercise standing, you’re using small(ish) muscles to lift the weight of the entire body. You have to work even harder if you’ve got a few extra pounds on you. You have to work about a million times harder if you had a stroke and the connection from the brain to those muscles is all messed up. So when you’re walking, at the end of the stance phase of gait, right before toe-off…..here’s a picture that shows what I’m talking about.……
So when you’re walking, at the end of the stance phase of gait, you have to lift the entire weight of the body with ONE LEG because the other leg has already swung forward. The legs do opposite things during the gait cycle, they move forward in a reciprocal pattern. So getting the calves strong, which is responsible for that motion, is vital for walking.