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A tight soleus leads to a poor squatting posture.

Test it then fix it here.

Anatomy of a muscle The soleus is located below and underneath the gastrocnemius. The soleus originates behind the bones in the lower leg and attaches to the heel. The soleus does not cross the knee therefore it does not help to bend the knee. The soleus points the foot.

Causes of tightness

  • The soleus tightens up during long periods of inactivity or habitual sitting

  • Continuously wearing high heels

  • Failure to adequately stretch following exercise such as running

Symptoms of tightness

  • Ache or pain in the calf

  • Ache or pain in the arch of the foot

  • Ache or pain in the Achilles tendon

A tight soleus hinders your ability to perform squatting movements (chair sitting and standing) because you must turn your foot outward or collapse the foot to make room for the movement. When this happens, there is a chain reaction in the knee, the hip, and the spine to compensate for the lack of mobility in the soleus. If not corrected, over time this could lead to issues with the previously mentioned joints.

Tightness test

  • Half-kneel in front of a wall with the front toe 5 inches from the wall (about the width of your hand)

  • Keeping the front heel on the floor, try to touch the knee to the wall

  • If you cannot touch your knee to the wall, you have a tight soleus

The fix

  • Put the ball of your left foot against a wall while keeping your heel on the ground

  • Put your hands on the wall for stability

  • Keep your abs tight and your upper body straight

  • Slowly bend the left knee and lean the whole body forward until you feel a stretch close to your Achilles tendon and hold 10 seconds

  • Contract the muscle by carefully pressing your foot into the wall trying to point the foot and hold 5 seconds

  • Relax the contraction and deepen the stretch by continuing to lean your leg and upper body forward without straightening your knee until you reach a new stretch point

  • Repeat steps 5 and 6 three more times

If you feel this in the front of your ankle instead of your calf, press the heel downwards by engaging your glute on the side you are stretching.

This stretch can be done every day.

After the stretch, retest the soleus to see if you have made progress.


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