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Meet Your Muscles - Calves

Posted Nov 29 2008 12:25pm
Muscles...some people want to build them. Some people want to tone them. Some people want to shrink them. Some people want to flex them at parties. Some people just want to have them. Meet Your Muscles gives you a unique look at some of your 430+ skeletal muscles.

Today's Muscle:
#11 - Calf Complex


Genetically I was blessed (If I don't say so myself). I never had glasses, I never had braces...but, there is one thing I've never had that I've always wanted.

Calves! 

I'm not sure if it's the actual calf muscle itself that is so small or if it's just the tiny ankle joint, but either way - it's ridiculous.

It's so bad that I'd even opt for some sort of questionable Euro Male Capri before I get caught wearing shorts. 

Now after some surprising things about my calves... 

Here are more surprising facts about yours:
  • The calf complex is made up of two muscles ( gastrocnemius and soleus ).
  • When working optimally the calf muscles point your foot and help to maintain the arch of the foot.
  • Shoes with a heel (anything from stilletos to Nike Shox ) put the calf in a shortened position which can create tightness.
  • Calf tightness can come from more than just poor shoes and support, but repetitive movements and being on your feet a lot.
  • Tightness in the calf can cause your feet to turn out, heel to raise, foot to flatten and/or your torso to excessively lean forward when you squat, lunge, step up, walk, or any functional movements. 
  • All this can lead to muscle imbalances, faulty movement patterns, and stress on your body.
  • A muscle imbalance (between front and back lower leg or with different portions of the calf muscles) will not allow the calf to properly cycle through the lengthening/shortening phase creating an 'energy leak' and a potential injury. 
  • If not addressed this tightness can lead to plantar fascitis, shin splints, jumper's knee, and other possible injuries in the ankle, knee, or even hip.

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