Top calf strengthening exercises for runners
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Published: May 8, 2020
If you are a runner, you probably know that you should pay special attention to your calf muscles. They consist of the gastrocnemius and soleus. They play an important role because by developing them, you can improve your power on hills, boost your speed, and maintain a quicker cadence for better running form. Since the benefits of running are generally great and numerous, you should certainly take care of your calf muscles. In case they are weak or tight, there is a risk of getting different injuries. Here are some calf strengthening exercises for runners that will help you avoid unwanted scenarios.
Dumbbell tip-toe walk is a very helpful exercise
One more exercise that will help you reach your goal is definitely a dumbbell tip-toe walk. Namely, what you should do is to hold a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells by your side. Walk with them from 40 to 60 seconds on your toes, keep your back straight, shoulders back, and your head up. When you finish the first round, rest for a minute and do 3 or 4 rounds more.
Adding weight while doing this exercise will help you build power. Furthermore, this will help you sustain proper form during long runs. In addition to this, feel free to increase weight if you think it is necessary. Another thing you should always bear in mind is to ask for help. If you want a female physical trainer, they will always be at your disposal.
One of the exercises you should do is A-skips or high knees
This is not only a good exercise for warming up but it is also one of the top calf strengthening exercises for runners. In addition to this, high knees will also help promote proper knee lift as well as a more efficient foot strike during your stride. Namely, what you should do is to begin a skipping motion. Raise your left knee up to waist height while pushing off the ground with your right foot. Also, make sure you keep your right leg straight. As you land, you should alternate by lifting the right knee to waist height. Another thing you should bear in mind while doing this exercise is to stay on your toes during the skip as much as possible. Plus, you should concentrate on landing on your forefoot or midfoot. Swing your arms opposite the lifted leg and complete 2 to 3 sets of 25 meters.
Another of the calf strengthening exercises for runners is using a jump rope
The main reason why this is an excellent way to build muscular endurance in calf muscles is the fact that you stay on your toes. So, include this in your routine and you will reach your goal in no time. Of course, if you do not like this exercise or you have not done it recently, it may be annoying at first or you may not be that successful. Luckily, you certainly can get better at it. All you should do is practice.
Start by keeping your feet together and stay on your toes as you jump. As you get better, you will even manage to do it for a few minutes. When you reach this point, you should also try to alternate your feet. Jump over the rope with only one foot at a time- this can closely resemble the running motion.
Bent-knee calf stretch should also be part of your workout routine
Even though a majority of stretches target the upper calf muscle, it is not the case with all of them. This kind of stretch is one of the calf strengthening exercises for runners. The proper way to do it is to place both hands on the wall and step both feet back. Then, bring your left leg closer to the wall, bend the knee, and keep your foot flat. Your right leg should be straight and the heel should be flat on the floor. Maintain this position until you feel a stretch on the lower part of your calf muscle towards your heel. Hold for 30 seconds and change the leg. A massage after a workout is certainly a good idea. It will help you relax and the effect of the workout will certainly be better.
Include downward dog as well
Downward dog is a great stretch yoga pose for runners. The reason for this is that it lengthens multiple muscle groups. This means that your calf muscles are not the only target of this exercise but also your hips, lower back, and shoulders. The proper way to start is on all fours with your knees on the ground and your feet at shoulder’s width apart. As you lift up, draw your chest towards your knees.
Also, let your hips rise while your spine forms a straight line all the way through the shoulder blades and neck. Pay special attention to not letting your head drop. Instead, sink your heels into the ground as much as possible and push your thighs back in order for your legs to be straight. Hold for 30 seconds and get back to the plank or table-top position.
Everyone who is into physical activities should take proper care of their bodies. This means that you should not only choose what kind of food to eat but also what kind of exercises to do. Here you have had a chance to learn more about calf strengthening exercises for runners. Make sure you include them into your routine and you will have nothing to worry about. As a matter of fact, you will see the results in no time!