Soleus Push-Ups: Are They Key to a Healthy Metabolism?
If you haven’t ever heard of soleus push-ups, you’re not alone. Heck, many of us don’t even know what the soleus is. And that’s too bad, because soleus push-ups might just be the easiest way to burn fat and get healthier ever discovered.
What is the Soleus Muscle?
You may be wondering what a “soleus” muscle is, and why you’ve never heard of it. Turns out, it’s a little-known muscle that’s part of the group of muscles that comprise your calf. It’s a wide, flat muscle that basically runs the length of the back of your lower leg, from the shin and calf bones down to the large part of your ankle and into the Achilles tendon. It’s situated under the visible “calf muscle,” the gastrocnemius, and it helps you bend your foot as well as keep your body upright when standing. In fact, without the help of the soleus, your body would tend to fall forward when in a standing position.
You use your soleus muscles for so many movements, it’s constantly being worked. From standing to walking to running, this muscle requires very little energy in the form of glycogen to keep going. In fact, this is one of the most worked muscles in the body and can be flexed repeatedly for hours on end without fatigue.
Benefits of Soleus Push-Ups
So, what’s the point of these calf muscle push-ups, and why on earth are they so great? With most folks sitting for an average of 10 hours a day (or more!), it’s critical that some sort of exercise be performed whenever possible. And this little, and often overlooked, muscle can help you break out of the inactivity rut.
Marc Hamilton, professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston (UH), is credited with discovering the huge health benefits of doing soleus push-ups. These aren’t your run of the mill, super hard to do push-ups either. These can be done hundreds of times a day without getting tired.
Here’s the fun part: studies show that working the soleus purposefully can have a significantly positive impact on your health across the board, including raising your metabolism and burning fat. Here’s what scientists found:
- Within 3 hours after eating carbohydrates, your 600 muscles only comprise about 15% of your oxidative metabolism. However, your soleus can double or even triple that number.
- Because the soleus uses a different mix of energy sources, it can raise your metabolism for hours, not just minutes like other muscles do.
- Instead of relying on carbohydrates for fuel, the soleus uses predominantly blood glucose and fats to perform.
- This is a muscle that is conditioned to be used repeatedly throughout the day, day in and day out, and it does so without fatigue or stress since it doesn’t rely on a depletable energy source like glycogen.
- Soleus push-ups help improve your blood sugar levels.
- These muscles help you become more sensitive to insulin and improve glucose tolerance.
- Because the soleus burns off double the fat of other muscle groups, it plays a part in reducing overall fat in your bloodstream.
- Increasing activity levels even in this small way may help prevent chronic diseases that often occur with age and a sedentary lifestyle.
Despite the long list of benefits, you have to do quite a few repetitions to make it worth your while. The subjects in the study continued repetitions for 4.5 hours, never resting more than 4 minutes at a time. So, it’s definitely something doable, but will take a bit of focus.
How to Do Soleus Push-Ups
Are you ready to get started with your own soleus push-ups? They’re fairly straight forward. Start in a seated position with your feet flat on the floor (you know, the position many folks find themselves in for most of the day while working a desk job). Keep your muscles relaxed as you lift your heels up off the ground, essentially bringing your feet up onto your toes. When you’ve lifted your heels as high as you can, let your heel naturally come back down to the starting position. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Don’t worry, you can do this while doing endless other tasks, including working, watching TV, scrolling through social media, listening to music, playing games, etc., etc.
So, if you find yourself sitting a lot, whether for work or otherwise, this breakthrough exercise could be intrinsically valuable. Whether you go for the entire 4.5-hour blast or you fit in soleus push-ups where you can, either way, they could prove to be a big benefit for your health!