How doing simple exercise soleus push ups at your desk can improve metabolic health and burn fat

Groundbreaking research reveals this one TINY exercise you can do while sitting down burns fat fast – and could change the health of billions of desk-bound workers forever

  • Scientists have uncovered the major health benefits of doing a simple exercise
  • Soleus push ups can be done sitting by lifting the heel off the ground repeatedly
  • The soleus muscle is a part of the calf and can be worked out without fatiguing
  • 25 participants did 270 minutes of soleus push up sitting throughout the day
  • Researchers found it improves blood glucose levels and sped up metabolism 

A new study has revealed one simple low-effort exercise can dramatically boost your metabolism and burn fat – while sitting at your desk. 

Researchers from the University of Houston discovered doing ‘soleus push ups’ continuously, even while sitting, can speed up the metabolism and improve blood glucose regulation. 

The study explained the soleus muscle is a large muscle that runs along the back of the lower leg and is essential for standing, walking and running. 

Scientists recently discovered working out the soleus muscle simply by repeatedly lifting your heel while sitting down is more effective at regulating blood sugar levels than exercise, weight loss and intermittent fasting – which is good news for leg twitchers. 

Researchers have discovered doing ‘soleus push ups’, working the powerful muscle along the back of the leg, can improve metabolic health and burn fat

Popular neuroscientist Dr Andrew Huberman spoke about the study on his podcast Huberman Lab saying the research is ‘very exciting’ for those who want to improve their health but don’t have time to move and exercise as much as they’d like.  

How do you do a soleus push up?

Your aim is to shorten the calf muscle.

  1. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and muscles relaxed.
  2. Raise your heel, keeping your toes on the ground.
  3. Release the heel when it is at the top of its motion and place it back on the ground.

It is a similar motion to walking, performed while seated. 

However, it uses much more energy and as the muscle doesn’t tire, you can maintain it for a long duration.


‘This study was focused on how people who sit a lot of the day and don’t have the opportunity or a lot of physical movement and maybe don’t even exercise at all, can improve their metabolism and glucose utilisation,’ he explained. 

‘It had people continuously do soleus push ups and they looked at things like blood glucose utilisation… they looked at metabolism and so on.’

Soleus push ups can be done by sitting on a chair with the feet flat on the floor then raising the heels with the toes on the ground, placing it back and repeating. 

The movement is extremely low-effort as the soleus is so powerful it won’t burn out or fatigue.   

‘In fact you could walk all day on this muscle and most likely it would not get sore,’ Dr Andrew said. 

The study focused on 25 men and women of different ages, Body Mass Indexes, and fitness levels to see if doing soleus push ups for 270 minutes or four and a half hours each day would effect metabolism and blood glucose levels. 

‘People who did these soleus push ups experienced dramatic improvements in blood sugar regulation and in metabolism despite the fact that the soleus is just one per cent of the total musculature,’ Dr Andrew said. 

It saw a 52 per cent improvement in blood glucose fluctuations and a 60 per cent reduced insulin requirement after a meal.

Four hours of soleus push ups with breaks reduced the level of fat in the blood and  doubled fat metabolism.

Soleus push ups can be done by sitting or standing with the feet flat on the floor then raising the heels with the toes on the ground, placing it back and repeating

Soleus push ups can be done by sitting or standing with the feet flat on the floor then raising the heels with the toes on the ground, placing it back and repeating

The simple repetitive movement can sustain an ‘elevated oxidative metabolism’ for hours which improve the regulation of blood glucose levels and in turn burn fat according to head researcher Marc Hamilton

‘We never dreamed that this muscle has this type of capacity. It’s been inside our bodies all along, but no one ever investigated how to use it to optimise our health, until now,’ the professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston said.  

‘When activated correctly, the soleus muscle can raise local oxidative metabolism to high levels for hours, not just minutes.’