The calf has two major muscles; the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius muscle is located on the back of the lower leg, The gastrocnemius raises your body to an upright position. The soleus raises the body when the knees are bent. The gastrocnemius is visible under the skin. It is the larger of the two major calf muscle, and it has a diamond shape. The soleus is a smaller flat muscle and is beneath the gastrocnemius. Both muscles connect behind the knee and extends to the heel.
A few good exercises to strengthen the calves would be seated calf raises, standing calf raises and calf raises on the leg press. Be sure to give the calves some special attention; they deserve it in order to support the upper legs.
The hamstring is located between the hip and the knee. One may think that the ‘ham’ is one big muscle, but it is made up of three major muscles. The semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris. It is the large tendon located at the back of the thigh. The hamstring is responsible for knee flexion and hip extension. It originates at the tuberosity of the ischium, and linea aspera, and its insertion points are at the tibia and fibula.
If you are working your quads, then you are also working your hams, glutes and calf muscles. Be careful when working the hamstring. Injuries are not uncommon here. The hamstring muscle is known for strains and sometimes tears. This generally occurs during running or jumping or even if you are running and suddenly stop or a quick start. You would want to warm up the legs and glutes before starting most activities. Give your hamstrings a fighting start.
Have you ever heard of rice? No, not the food. Here’s an acronym called R.I.C.E. that can be used to remember a way of initially caring for an injury to the hamstring. But of ALL things…CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR:
- Rest the leg. Consult your doctor
- Ice your leg (to reduce pain and swelling). Consult your doctor
- Compress your leg (to keep down swelling). Consult your doctor
- Elevate your leg on a pillow (while lying down or siting). Consult your doctor
The quadriceps femoris (aka quads) is a group of four muscles. These four muscles are the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and the vastus intermedius (in the front of the thigh), and the rectus femoris which attaches to the ilium and inserts into the hip bone. It is a flexor of the hip bone. The vastus muscles all originates on the femur bone. It attaches to the patella (kneecap). The quadriceps extend the knees.
Be careful of an injury involving your quads. The quadriceps are responsible for so many movements that one may not be aware. Sometimes when the quads are injured, they don’t perform properly. Did you know that you need your quadriceps to scoot around? Try it! You should notice that as you prepare to scoot, your quads contract to help complete that movement. Other times where you would need your quads are in walking or running or rising from a chair or seated position. Without your quads, you simply would fall. A few good exercises for the quads would be squats, leg extensions and leg presses.
The buttocks or as it is also known, the ‘glutes’. This is a muscle that can’t be slacking…no pun intended. One most surely needs a strong back side to concur some daily routines such as lifting, bending, walking or even jogging. Did you know that the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus all make up the buttocks? Consistently working these three muscles will show results that most can appreciate. The buttocks muscles laterally rotate and extend the hip and the trunk. Squats are most commonly performed when it comes to strengthening and tightening the buttocks.
Gluteus to the Maximu…cause everyone deserves great results!!! The Gluteus Maximus is often referred to as the ‘glutes’. The glutes are the larger of the three major muscles of the buttock. It is responsible for many movements from the trunk to the thigh. When one does lunges or squats, there are several muscles at work, but the gluteus takes on a great deal of that power to bring the body back to a standing position. The gluteus maximum, gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus are covered in a subcutaneous fat. This fat is necessary and varies from person to person.
Subcutaneous means “under the skin.” There are blood vessels within subcutaneous fat, and this provides oxygen to the skin. Subcutaneous fat assists in protecting the skin against trauma. How awesome is that? But one should be careful to keep this fat at a minimum to avoid health concerns. Squats, lunges and deadlifts are great exercises for strengthening the glutes.
The gluteus medius is located at the outer portion of the pelvis. The gluteus maximus covers a portion of the medius. The gluteus medius is responsible for lateral rotation, extension, and abduction of the hip.
The gluteus minimus is located in front of the gluteus medius and the gluteus maximus. It is a triangular muscle. It’s origin is the outer surface of the ilium and to the upper leg (the greater trochanter of the femur). The gluteus minimus and the gluteus medius stabilizes the hip and pelvis as the leg is raised. When you move your thigh away from the midline of the body this is abduction. When you move your thigh towards the midline of the body this is adduction. Both movements require the gluteus minimus to be utilized.
Anatomy and Tips
The hip joint is between the femur and the pelvis. It is the hip that supports body weight when performing activities such as running, walking or even standing. You also need strong hips for balance.
The hip is responsible for flexion, extension, adduction and abduction as well as medial and lateral rotation of the thigh. The hips of women are different from that of men. The hips of women get wider during puberty. This is to enable child birth.