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4 Exercises for runners to strengthen their calf muscles
The study mentioned before also compared the muscle activation of different calf exercises in runners and suggested these exercises as the best for strengthening calf muscles:
1. Calf raises
* Standard calf raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your toes pointing forward. Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as possible. Hold the position briefly and then lower your heels back down. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
* Single-leg calf raises: Similar to standard calf raises, but perform the exercise on one leg at a time. This variation targets the calf muscles individually, improving balance and stability. Do 10-15 reps on each leg.
2. Calf raises on an inclined surface
Find an elevated surface such as a step or curb. Position the balls of your feet on the edge, allowing your heels to extend beyond. Lower your heels below the level of the step, and then push up onto your toes as high as possible. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
3. Calf stretching exercises
* Wall calf stretch: Stand facing a wall, with your hands resting on the wall at shoulder height. Step one foot back while keeping the front foot flat on the ground. Then slowly lean forward, feeling a stretch in the calf of the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other leg. Perform 2-3 sets on each leg.
* Soleus stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend one knee and place the foot against the inside of the opposite thigh. Lean forward, reaching towards your toes, and feel the stretch in the calf of the extended leg. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform 2-3 sets on each leg.
4. Skipping or jumping rope
These activities engage the calf muscles dynamically, helping to improve strength, endurance, and coordination. Incorporate skipping or jumping rope into your warm-up or cardio routines for a well-rounded calf muscle workout
The exercises mentioned above offer effective ways to target and strengthen the calf muscle complex. Remember to start with light to moderate intensity and gradually increase the load as your calf muscles adapt. Incorporating these exercises into your training routine, along with a balanced overall strength and conditioning program, will help you become a stronger and more resilient runner!