Calf Raises: Knee Bent vs. Knee StraightFeb 09, 2024
Ever wondered how your calf raise technique can impact different muscles in the calf group? Let's explore the science behind knee-bent vs. knee-straight calf raises! 🦵💡
🔍 Muscle Trio:
The calf muscle group comprises three main players – the medial gastrocnemius, the lateral gastrocnemius, & the soleus.
Bent knee calf raises
📉 Decreased electromyographic (EMG) activity in the gastrocnemius at greater knee flexion angles (more knee bend) (Arampatzis 2006)
🩹Standing with a bent knee increases strain on the Achilles tendon. Yeh (2021) notes that a bent knee allows for a greater ankle dorsiflexion range. Fonaro (2022) supports this, demonstrating higher strain in the soleus component of the Achilles tendon during bent knee calf raises.
Straight knee calf raises
🚀Reid's (2012) and Signorile's (2002) findings indicate significantly higher gastrocnemius activity in the extended knee condition, while soleus muscle activity remains constant across joint positions.
Contrary to the belief that a specific knee flexion position selectively targets a single muscle, Hébert-Losier (2011) argues that no knee flexion position is exclusively selective to the soleus (SOL), medial gastrocnemius (GM), or lateral gastrocnemius (GL) alone.
🔑Soleus activity is unchanged by differing knee flexion angles
🔑Gastrocs activity is decreased with more knee bend
Why not both? We suggest utilizing both exercises to provide diverse stimuli to the calf & Achilles tendon
For early gastrocnemius strains, opt for seated or bent knee calf raises initially, gradually progressing to standing, straight leg variations.
To manage Achilles tendinopathy, consider progressing to bent knee variations (seated or standing) to intensify the strain on this structure.
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