December 10, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
Elevating the front or back of the feet during certain lower body movements can influence range of motion, body position and muscle activation. With squats, for instance, raising the heels on a 2×4 piece of wood, two weight plates, or a wedge (rocker) board can direct more stress to the quadriceps and help those with tight hip flexors and calves go deeper and stay more upright.
On semi-stiff-leg deadlifts or good mornings, raising the front part of the feet will encourage the weight over the heels and increase the stretch on the calves and hamstrings. Actually, it really increases the stretch on the calves and hamstrings! Give it a shot, but use a small weight plate under each forefoot and do it on a Smith machine first.
I picked up this concept ages ago from the late Jerry Telle, an exercise scientist who created a unique system of training known as Tellekinetics. He called this one the “butt punch.” Originally described as a good morning variation using the Smith machine, it can also be performed with the bar low as in the semi-stiff-leg deadlift. The idea is to basically punch the butt backwards while keeping your back flat with the ankles in dorsiflexion (only the heels should be touching the ground).
Butt Punch Good Morning
Butt Punch Semi-Stiff-Leg Deadlift
If you’re looking for a way to stretch and strengthen your calves and hamstrings, give these exercises a try. I’m sure you’ll agree, they pack quite a punch!