This is the Ballet Heel Raise...
Using a wall or chair for a balance assist - Perform a mini sumo squat and while at the bottom of the squat perform a heel raise going high on the "balls of the foot" keeping the weight centered or toward the big toe. (don't roll out to the little toe)
Hold the heel raise and stand up out of the squat and push the ground away through your metatarsal heads (ie...balls of your foot) - lower heels while trying to keep your arch "short" and repeat.
You will feel a pretty intense contraction of the soleus and gastroc and your arch will get a great workout. (the soleus is actually the primary extensor of your knee in weight bearing- weird eh???)
Edit and addition: According to "Gait Analysis" by Jaquelin Perry the soleus contraction during mid and terminal stance creates a stable tibia for knee extension to occur - a weak soleus will result in inadequate knee extension.
and in the Journal of Biomechanics -
Examination of the muscle actions during single limb stance showed that the gluteus maximus, vasti, and soleus make substantial contributions to hip and knee extension during normal gait.
so perhaps I shouldn't say primary extensor - maybe primary stabilizer of the tibia but if you take a step forward into a shallow lunge and then plantarflex your ankle your knee will extend. Try it...
Vary the foot position so you do narrow and feet straight and various widths of stance etc...
Yes this is a Ballet exercise - one of the very basic barre exercises and it is excellent for your feet, arches and calves.
I consider this essential in the transition into barefoot training and strengthening the feet.
And I have lots of work to put in myself on this exercise.
Sets of 10 or more as rest between other drills is a great way to make sure this exercise gets done because feet and calves are about the easiest things to ignore. And be sure to use the balance assist in the beginning - it is tougher than it looks.
This is a very basic Ballet exercise and there will be more for me to introduce as we go along.
Double KB training today:
Prep - ASLR, Brettzel
Dbl 24 kg BottomsUp Clean and Press x 3, 3, 3
Dbl 24 kg SLDL x 5+5, 5+5, 5+5
Windmill 24 kg x 5+5
Dan John Clean and Front squat Ladder w/ Dbl 24 kg
1 Clean + 1 FS
2 Cleans + 2 FS
3 Cleans + 3 FS
4 Cleans + 4 FS
5 Cleans + 5 FS
BHR x 40 (ballet heel raise from above)
Just a bit of double KB work - See KBs for Power Athletes for details on the Double BU C+P...