Heel Lifts are also known as Plantar Flexion. Simply lifting your heels and going up on your toes has you using four specific muscles:
- the gastrocnemius – this is the muscle you visibly see when you look at your calves. It starts at the femur behind the knee and attaches to the heel with the Achilles tendon.
- the soleus – this one you can’t see; it’s hidden beneath the gastrocnemius on the lower part of the leg
- the plantaris – this muscle runs obliquely and lies between the soleus and the medial head of the gastrocnemius.(these three muscles together make up the triceps surae muscle group)
- the plantar fascia – not actually a muscle but rather a thick cord of connective tissue that runs from your heel to your metatarsal bones, supporting your arch.
You need strong calf and foot muscles for running, and also for walking and standing on your tip-toes to reach up on high shelves. When you perform heel lifts put your hands on your hips or stretch them straight out in front of you for balance. You don’t need to stay up on your toes for more than a split second.
Here’s a video to demonstrate the exercise.