The Brain Fitness Experts.

Home   Movement of the Month

Movement of the Month

The Calf Pump

The Calf Pump is a Brain Gym® integrative movement which accesses the Brain Stem of the 3 Dimensional Brain and is used to stimulate the forward and backward movement patterns of the Focus Dimension.

Keywords associated with the Brain Stem are: grounded, active participation, focus and comprehension.


It is the part of the brain responsible for:
  • sense of time
  • reacting to threats
  • rituals and rhythms
  • reflexive actions, survival orientation
  • waking up brain to incoming signals
  • automatic functions: breathing/heartbeat
  • sensory input may dominate over new learning (ADHD)
How to do the The Calf Pump:

Belly Breathing

How readily can you express yourself? How long and relaxed doe each of your legs feel?

Standing with one leg forward, lean forward by bending the front knee and exhale, pressing your back heel gently to the ground. The front knee extends no more than to the middle of the foot beneath it. As you release, lift your back heel and take a deep breath. Do this three times on each side.

Notice again your readiness for self expression. Do you feel lighter and more forward-directed in your body?


Benefits of this Movement

The Calf Pump allows us to become more grounded in our physical body and environment, so we can actively participate in the learning ahead.

The Calf Pump is a movement re-education process to restore the natural length of the tendons in the feet and lower leg. At times of perceived danger, these tendons shorten to prepare for the act of running. By pressing down the heel and lengthening the tendon, the calf discharges the fear reflex and the muscles can return to a normal tonus.

This Brain Gym® movement activates the brain for back brain-front brain integration, expressive speech and language ability.


What improves in day-to-day life
  • Speed Reading
  • Maintaining Attending Skills
  • Seeing Other’s Point of View
  • Planning Long-range Strategies
  • Maintaining Comfort with People
  • Focusing Attention
  • Reading & Comprehension
  • Effective & Creative Writing
  • Expressing Leadership Skills
  • Communication & Responsiveness
  • Bringing Projects to Closure
History of Movement

Paul E. Dennison, Ph.D., discovered the Calf Pump while working with teens and adults who could not express themselves verbally or write meaningful answers about familiar material. He observed that these individuals locked their knees, activating the tendon-guard reflex and tightening the calf muscles. He modified a hamstring release he had learned as a marathon runner so that it would emphasize the muscles of the calves. The Calf Pump was developed to bring student’s awareness to the calf area, where the instinct to “hold back” originates. Students often become more active participants and are able to access language abilities as soon as the brain reflex to hold back is released.

To learn more about The Calf Pump and other Brain Gym® movements join us for one of our workshops.

Some “Movement of the Month” content is derived from the following publications, Brain Gym® for Business, Brain Gym® Teachers Edition and the Brain Gym® 101 Manual. Do not reproduce – Format © Brain Works Global Inc. 2015