Ultimate Calf Training to avoid Calf Muscle Pain
You have been pounding away at the iron game for years, set after set and repetition after repetition.
You have put blood, sweat, and tears into your calf training routine.
Learn the facts and get some ideas on increasing calf size and calve muscle pains.
You step back to look at the view in the mirror only to notice that you still lack lower leg development.
How can that be?
You have trained calves a million and one ways; you have eaten properly, received adequate rest, and still fail to see any distinct results.
Do you suffer from small calf syndrome? Are you tired of putting in 100% effort and receiving only 10% results? Does any of this sound familiar?
Have you ever seen someone who doesn’t work out at all or exercises very little, yet they possess beautiful and balanced calves? Just as with any other muscle, calves are genetic.
The length of a muscle and the tendon’s insertion point will determine how great your calves will be.
Those with short calf muscles and a long tendon insertion will have a much more difficult time building them to greatness, as this makes them smaller and higher.
Building calves can be frustrating, and it has to be the most difficult muscle in the body to deliver desired results.
Even if you are not genetically gifted in the calf department, there are some tactics that you can employ to maximize your lower leg development.
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What exercises can I do to get the best out of my calf muscles?
Calf raises. Lots and lots of calf raises.
You can do a neutral foot position, toes in heels out, heels in toes out, and squats to calf raise and up.
If you’re a beginner, you can stabilize yourself by not leaning but using a wall as a support. If you’re very fit and have good stability, try doing them with your toes on the edge of a stair or box with the heels hanging off and doing neutral calf raises with a slight (5–15 degree) decline.
Do these in high repetition, still focusing on controlled movement and contraction. You may experience cramps if you start off doing too much too quickly.
Running is good; a mix of long-distance running and sprinting should be incorporated into a weekly routine.
I recommend you do shin contractions as well to balance out the overall lower leg. The muscle you are targeting with this exercise is formally known as the tibialis anterior.
To do this exercise, simply sit down with your legs out in front and focus on lifting your toes with your heel stationary: you should feel the contraction of a large muscle along your shin. You should focus on training along with your calves with this very repeated exercise.
How to Develop Calf Muscles on a person with sprinters Legs
Developing your calf muscles gives you more power in the sprint and helps protect your ankles from injury.
Your calves stabilize both your knee and ankle joints while channeling the energy created by your stride into forwarding momentum.
Strong calves give you explosive power out of the start and help create a balanced look to your physique.
Calf development should complement your sprint training, not compromise it, so train your calves following your regular sprint work. Consult a healthcare practitioner before beginning any exercise program.
Hence strong calves give you explosive power out of the start and help create a balanced look to your physique.
Also, calf development should complement your sprint training, not compromise it.
So train your calves following your regular sprint work. Consult a healthcare practitioner before beginning any exercise program.
Avoiding Calf Muscle Pain and strengthening calves
A strained or pulled calf muscle pain is one of the sport’s most common injuries.
The two large muscles in the back of the lower leg (the soleus and gastrocnemius) are called calf muscles. And they are at risk every time you push off—even if you’re just walking.
Hence when the muscles are stretched beyond their normal capacity, the muscle fibers tear away from the tendon.
While In a grade 1 strain, only a few fibers are torn, and the symptoms are relatively mild. A grade 2 strain involves even more tears and more serious symptoms, and a grade 3 strain means the tendon or muscle has been completely ruptured.
7 Exercises to Stretch and Strengthen your Calf Muscles and prevent Calve Muscle Pains
Your calf muscles are most likely a little weak and tight.
Here are our favorite stretches and exercises to take care of them.
Calf strength and ankle mobility are crucial for all athletes but particularly runners.
When your foot strikes the ground, the whole kinetic chain’s functional stability relies on a strong and agile base. Yet, that base is often neglected in training routines.
And while calf strength is important, stretching and mobility are critical as well.
“The whole complex needs to work together up the totem pole,”
Says Nicole Haas, a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist with a doctorate in physical therapy.
If you have stiff ankles or calves or significant lower-leg asymmetries, that could reverberate up the limb and cause pain in the knees, hips, and back, as well as limit your performance.
Along with the quads, the calves absorb the most impact when your feet land, whether you’re dropping a cliff on skis or pounding pavement.
The calf muscle group comprises the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which both connect to the Achilles tendon on the backside of the lower leg.
Your calves help bend your knees and are responsible for lifting the heel; a movement called plantar flexion (think of toeing when rock climbing).
They also control the opposite movement, dorsiflexion, while they’re elongated.
“Eccentric loading [when muscles elongate under load] imposes the highest forces on a muscle,” says Scott Johnston, co-author of the new book Training for the Uphill Athlete: A Manual for Mountain Runners and Ski Mountaineers. “It’s the primary load that runners experience in their legs—and the reason you get sore calves and quads when you run downhill for 2,000 feet.”
There’s no one-size-fits-all training plan to build strength and resilience in the lower legs. Assess your general calf strength and ankle mobility—there’s a helpful guide below—before you jump into the exercise progression, and don’t neglect the recovery moves.
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Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017.
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
You can find more information on Coaching here