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The soleus is a muscle in the calf complex that is responsible for flexing the foot and stabilising the tibia. The soleus muscle is dominant in the position of a bent knee. It is important that this muscle is strengthened due to its role in running, standing and walking. It can be strengthened in a seated position initially, followed by a progression to standing and single leg as explored below.

Seated soleus heel raise

Instructions

  • Sit on the edge of a chair at a height so the knee is bent to approximately 90 degrees and the feet are planted on the ground
  • Using pressure from the hands onto the affected limb, raise the heel against the resistance
  • The heel lifts and lowers in a controlled manner against resistance

Wall squat soleus heel raise

Instructions

  • Position the back flat against the wall
  • With straight knees, extend the legs away from the wall so you are leaning back
  • Bend the knees to a 90-degree position
  • Slowly lift and lower the heels

Standing soleus heel raise with single leg progression

Instructions

  • Face the wall and use your hands for balance
  • Bend the knees as if you’re doing a half squat
  • Maintaining this bend in the knees, lift and lower the heels off the ground
  • To progress complete on one leg, again maintaining the bend in the knee

Precautions

  • Ensure the ankle doesn’t roll out at the top of the heel raise
  • Avoid bouncing
  • Avoid scrunching the toes