Are Your Calves Holding You Back? Two Simple Tests to Find Out
When it comes to running, we often focus on building core strength and hip mobility to improve our form and technique. However, one area that is often overlooked is our calves. Our calves play a significant role in absorbing the impact of each stride and providing the necessary push-off to propel us forward. If our calves aren’t strong enough, it can lead to fatigue, injury, and a slower running pace.
To determine if your calves are strong enough, there are two simple tests you can perform. The first test is calf raises. Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step, and slowly lower your heels down until you feel a stretch in your calves. Then, raise your heels up as high as possible, bearing your weight through your mid-toe. You should be able to do 25 reps in one set of this movement for about three sets without losing height or feeling like it’s getting harder.
The second test is hopping. Perform small hops, bouncing off the ground on your mid-foot. You should be able to do two or three sets of 30 seconds without feeling fatigue.
If you find that you can’t do these two tests, it’s time to incorporate calf work into your running routine. Some exercises to try include calf raises with weights, jumping rope, and plyometric exercises such as box jumps or jump squats.
Building strong calves can help improve your running performance, reduce your risk of injury, and give you that extra push you need to reach your goals. So, don’t neglect your calves, and make sure to incorporate calf exercises into your regular workout routine.