Heel Cord Homework - FIT Human Performance

Heel Cord Homework



February 28, 2016 – 

If you have done any training with me at all then you are well aware of the protocol where you warm-up and then go stretch the heel cord. This is a very important component of any pre-exercise or sport action. The heel cord or achilles tendon attaches the heel bone (Calcaneus) to your Calf muscle (Gastrocnemius) and gets used in every step you take. The reason I ask each of you to be aware of your lower leg/ankle flexibility is that many of you wear a shoe with a heel (ladies), sit for extended periods of time, or sleep with your feet pointing away from your knee. All are common patterns leading to a tight heel cord and eventual Achilles Tendonitis. That means inflammation and swelling, worst-case scenario is the next condition, a tear or rupture of the tendon. And I promise you do not want that to happen. Solution, besides coming to see me of course … FIT homework. Easy!

Homework Assignment:
AchillesStretchStretch! An easy stretch is standing arms length from a wall, point your feet inward like a slice of pizza and with locked/straight knees just lean towards your hands on the wall. Feel a nice stretch, even a slow burn and hold that for a full minute (no cheating!). IF you dare to go for the extra stretch then bend one knee to isolate the other calf for 30 seconds and then alternate to the other side. For a little more direct and effective stretch stand on an elevated angle board. Amazon sells them for home, gym, of office use. I have one at F.I.T. and at home. If you cannot find it on line, check out my website store. www.fitwoodlands.com

Decades ago people would stand on a stair or bench to stretch the calf…that does not work. If the goal was to stretch the longitudinal muscles of the bottom of your feet then stretching from a step works. However, the homework goal for you is to have a very functional or limber ankle that will allow for better movement.

Frequency – can be daily or a few times a day to really be awesome!
Intensity – your level of discomfort, no bouncing or extra weight needed.
Time – should be at least one minute 30 seconds so muscles can elongate.

So there you go, your first FIT homework for the year, Functional homework is fun!

In good health,


“Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achilles heel, if you will.” Homer Simpson