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plantar flexor of the ankle. It also has minimal ability to stabilize the ankle due to the posterior orientation and narrow attachment of the calcaneal tendon. The soleus is a synergist to the gastrocnemius for plantar flexion, but which of these two muscles is most active during this movement is mainly driven by the position of the knee: If the knee is extending or extended (as when rising from a squatting or seated position or jumping), the gastrocnemius is more active. If the knee is flexed (as with relaxed walking or static standing), the soleus is more active. With the knee extended, the gastrocnemius is pre-stretched or placed under tension, thus maximizing its contractility and mechanical advantage for pushing off or lifting the ankle up from the ground. With the knee flexed, the gastrocnemius is slacked, reducing its contractility and placing greater emphasis on the soleus for generating plantar flexion. Christy Cael is a licensed massage therapist and certified strength and conditioning specialist. Her private practice focuses on injury treatment, biomechanical analysis, craniosacral therapy, and massage for clients with neurological issues. She is the author of Functional Anatomy: Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Palpation for Manual Therapists (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009). Contact her at Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 41 Client Homework: Downward-Facing Dog Pose 1. Begin on all fours with knees hip-width apart, hands about a foot in front of your shoulders, and palms flat. 2. Tuck your toes and lift your hips as you drop your chest back toward your thighs. 3. Keep your knees slightly bent and your wrists and shoulders strong and stable. 4. Keeping your head relaxed, continue lifting your hips up and back as you straighten your knees and drop your heels toward the floor. Editor's note: The Client Homework element in Functional Anatomy is intended as a take-home resource for clients experiencing issues with the profiled muscle. The stretches identified in Functional Anatomy should not be performed within massage sessions or progressed by massage therapists, in order to comply with state laws and maintain scope of practice. Palpating the Gastrocnemius Positioning: client prone. 1. Stand facing the client's leg and locate the bulk of muscle just distal to the popliteal fossa with your palm. 2. Slide your hand medially and laterally to differentiate the two large heads of the gastrocnemius. 3. Continue to palpate distally as the gastrocnemius converges into the calcaneal tendon. 4. Resist as the client plantar flexes to ensure proper location.

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