The Soleus Pushup Exercises: Benefits and the Techniques

The soleus muscle is an often-overlooked muscle in the lower leg that is responsible for plantarflexion of the ankle, which is the action of pointing the foot downward. While it may not be as well-known as other leg muscles, the soleus plays a crucial role in a variety of activities such as walking, running, and jumping.

One effective exercise for targeting the soleus muscle is the soleus pushup. This exercise involves lifting the heel while keeping the front of the foot stable, which is the opposite of a traditional calf raise where the heel remains on the ground.

In this article, you will explore the benefits of the soleus pushup exercises and how to properly perform the exercise, with tips and techniques.

Recent findings published in the scientific journal iScience [1] have suggested that incorporating soleus pushups into your exercise routine may have several health benefits. The soleus pushup exercise targets the soleus muscle located in the calf and can lead to an increased metabolic rate, lower blood sugar levels, and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.

The soleus pushup exercise offers a unique way to activate the soleus muscle that differs from standing or walking. Recent studies have shown that muscle biopsies revealed minimal glycogen contribution to fueling the soleus during the exercise. Instead of breaking down glycogen, the soleus muscle can utilize other types of fuel, such as blood glucose and fats.

Benefits of the Soleus Pushup:

  1. Lowered blood sugar levels: By targeting the soleus muscle, it can help lower your blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and improve your lower leg strength and endurance.
  2. Improved Balance and Stability: The soleus muscle is essential for maintaining balance and stability, especially during activities that require you to stand on one leg. By strengthening the soleus muscle, you can improve your ability to balance and stabilize your body, reducing your risk of falls and other injuries.
  3. Increased Ankle Mobility: The soleus muscle plays a critical role in ankle mobility, and strengthening it can help improve the range of motion in your ankles. This increased mobility can be particularly beneficial for athletes who rely on quick and powerful movements, such as basketball players or soccer players.
  4. Enhanced Performance in Sports and Activities: The soleus muscle is involved in a variety of athletic movements such as jumping and running. By strengthening the soleus, you can improve your performance in these activities, allowing you to jump higher and run faster.
  5. Reduced Risk of Injury: Weak soleus muscles can lead to a variety of injuries, including ankle sprains and strains. Strengthening the soleus through exercises like the soleus pushup can help reduce your risk of these types of injuries.

Soleus Pushup Techniques :

Performing the soleus pushup is relatively straightforward, but it’s important to use proper form to maximize the benefits and avoid injury. Here are the steps to properly perform the exercise:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward. Keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet.
  2. Lift your heels off the ground, keeping the front of your feet stable. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your heels back down to the ground.
  3. Repeat the movement for 10-15 repetitions, making sure to keep your movements slow and controlled.
  4. As you become more comfortable with the exercise, you can increase the number of repetitions or add weights to further challenge the soleus muscle.

Tips for soleus pushup exercises:

  1. It’s important to keep the front of your foot stable throughout the exercise. This means that the ball of your foot should not lift off the ground, and your toes should remain pointed forward.
  2. Make sure to keep your movements slow and controlled. Rapid movements can lead to injury and decrease the effectiveness of the exercise.
  3. Start with a few repetitions and gradually increase the number as your strength improves. It’s better to perform a few repetitions with proper form than to perform many repetitions with poor form.
  4. Don’t forget to breathe! Inhale as you lift your heels and exhale as you lower them back down.

Variations of Soleus Pushup:

The soleus pushup can be modified in a variety of ways to make it more challenging or to target different muscles in the lower leg. Here are a few variations to consider:

  1. Single-Leg Soleus Pushup: This variation involves performing the exercise on one leg at a time. This can help improve balance and stability, as well as increase the challenge on the soleus muscle.
  2. Weighted Soleus Pushup: Adding weights to the exercise can increase the challenge on the soleus muscle, helping to build strength and endurance.
  3. Incline Soleus Pushup: Performing the exercise on an inclined surface, such as a step or a block, can increase the range of motion and target the soleus muscle in a different way.
  4. Plyometric Soleus Pushup: This variation involves performing the exercise explosively, jumping off the ground as you lift your heels. This can help improve power and explosiveness in the lower leg muscles.


As with any exercise, it’s important to take precautions to avoid injury. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when performing the soleus pushup:

  1. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the exercise. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise immediately.
  2. Make sure to use proper form, keeping the front of your foot stable and your movements slow and controlled.
  3. If you have any pre-existing injuries or conditions in your lower legs or ankles, consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this exercise.
  4. If you experience any pain or discomfort during the exercise, stop immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.


The soleus pushup is a simple yet effective exercise that can help improve balance,  lower blood sugar, stability, ankle mobility, and athletic performance. By properly targeting the soleus muscle, you can reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall lower leg strength and endurance. Incorporate the soleus pushup into your workout routine and start reaping the benefits today!