Calf Capacity for Running

 


Is your calf capacity holding you back from your running goals?

When we run, we rely on our calf muscles to produce relentlessly high outputs, maintain running form and ensure efficient movement, while avoiding injury. Along with other muscle groups in the leg, the calves need to repeatedly withstand and produce high forces, on every foot strike as part of efficient running mechanics.

It has been calculated that, depending on your speed, your gastrocnemius (superficial calf muscle), will produce 2-3 times your body weight on every foot strike, while your soleus (your deep calf muscle) produces a whopping 6-8 times your body weight.

If you haven’t got the necessary strength capacity in these muscles to produce this, the body will put excess pressure on other parts of your leg, in an attempt to find the force in other places.

This pattern is frequently how overuse running injuries of the legs begin. Depending on the person, the compensation can happen anywhere in the leg or even further up your kinetic chain, in your back, and so the pain you feel may not be in your calf, even though it could be the culprit.

If you have pain in your legs from running, getting a thorough assessment of your leg strength and running mechanics will show if you have calf deficits or if other muscles lack capacity, providing you with a bespoke roadmap to pain-free performance.

Speak to the team at Ace Sports Clinic Malvern today and see how we can help you improve your calf capacity and hit your running goals.


Source: Tim W. Dorn, Anthony G. Schache, Marcus G. Pandy; Muscular strategy shift in human running: dependence of running speed on hip and ankle muscle performance. J Exp Biol 1 June 2012; 215 (11): 1944–1956. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.064527