What: The big muscle at the back of the lower leg (the part of the calf muscle visible from the outside of the body).
Where: Attaches to the heel with the Achilles Tendon and originates behind the knee on the femur.
Used in: Walking, running, jumping.
Action: Plantarflex the ankle (point the foot away from the body), and bend the knee.
Why you should train it: A strong Gastrocnemius helps with balance, jumping, and running.
Work your Gastrocnemius: Grab on to something supportive and do a calf raise. Use your own body’s resistance and push down, adding pressure to the calves. Hold the contraction for as long as possible. Repeat three to four more times.
Stretch your Gastrocnemius:
- Stand with one leg far in front of the other and lean forwards against a wall
- Keep the back heel flat on the floor
- Bend the front leg to lean forwards and keep the back leg straight
- Hold for 10 to 30 seconds
Any type of yoga boot camp or yoga class is likely to give your Gastrocnemius a good stretch. And it’s important to stretch it even if you’re not involved in yoga. It’s generally a good idea to stretch your Gastrocnemius both before and after any fitness training program or boot camp. Strained Gastrocnemius muscles are often associated with shin splints and ankle pains. So, get the most out of your workout program by stretching and building your Gastrocnemius.