ballet 

Eccentric Calf And Achilles Tendon Strengthening

For many dancers, having strong calves and achilles tendons are crucial to their ability to perform at their best. Here are some simple exercise you can do at home to strengthen your achilles and calves.

1. Straight knee double heel lowering over a step

  • Place both of your feet on the edge of a step in demi-pointé position (balls of the feet) and hold on to a wall or barre for balance
  • Slowly lower your heels until they fall just below the level of the step
  • Replace your feet in demi-pointé position, try not to do an active heel rise to the starting position
  • Repeat 15 times for 3 sets
  • Make sure that you stand up tall and keep your feet and arches “on” at all times
  • Using a small ball between your ankles may help maintain your feet in a better position
  • heel lowering with ball

2. Bent knee double heel lowering over a step

  • Same position as in #1 but this time bend both of your knees a little, about ~20o
  • Make sure that both of your knees are pointing in the same direction as your 2nd toe
  • Slowly lower yourself until both of your heels fall below the level of the step
  • Repeat 15 times for 3 sets

heel lowering

3. Single leg heel drop, straight knee

  • Place feet on the edge of a step in demi-pointé position (balls of the feet) while gently holding on for balance
  • Transfer your weight to one foot, slowly lower your heel to just past the level of the step
  • Repeat 15 times for 3 sets on each leg

single leg heel drop

4. Single leg heel drop, bent knee

  • Same position as in #3, but bend your knees slightly, about ~20o
  • Make sure that your knees are in line with your 2nd toe
  • Slowly lower your heel past the level of the step
  • Repeat 15 times for 3 sets on each leg

bent knee single heel drop

5. Parallel and turn out positioning

Do exercises (1) and (2) daily for 1 week. If there is no pain with the exercises, then progress to (3) and (4) for 2-3 weeks. If you are a dancer or gymnast, you can do the exercises in parallel and in turn out positions:

parallel and turn out calf exercise

When doing these exercises, remember to:

  1. maintain good posture during the exercises
  2. if you are a dancer or gymnast, do the exercises with no shoes; otherwise, you may do the exercises with runners

Learn More Exercise To Help Your Dance

Your physiotherapist can help you create an exercise to help you improve your dance. Ask us how:

Schedule With Your Physio

Phone 604-738-1168

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I dance with achilles tendonitis?

A: Many dancers suffer from achilles tendonitis, especially those on pointe. If you are dealing with achilles tendonitis, having proper treatment, rest, conditioning and training will go a long way to helping you recover from your injury.

Q: How do I strengthen my calves for dancing?

A: In addition to calf specific exercises, other ways to strengthen you calves include walking, running and hiking especially uphill.

Q: What happens if I do not treat my achilles tendonitis?

A: Without treatment, your achilles tendonitis injury could get worse over time. This could lead to chronic pain and tearing of the tendon, potentially requiring surgical repair.