We've previously mentioned the benefits of varying foot positions to alter calf load (here). Recent research by Nunes et al lends support to this approach. They explored the use of different foot positions to target either the medial (inner) or lateral (outer) gastrocnemius.
🙋🏼♂️What did they find?
By turning the feet outwards, there was greater hypertrophy in the medial gastrocs, & turning the feet inwards resulted in greater hypertrophy to the lateral gastrocs.
🤷♂️How can we use this?
For those suffering underdevelopment of either head of the gastrocs, a change in foot position may help to target the desired component.
🎯We've previously discussed the potential benefit of varying foot position in those with Achilles tendinopathy. Loading the different muscles of the calf may assist in improved movement of the fibres within the tendon.
🎯Those suffering from overload on the medial side of the leg (medial tibial stress syndrome, tibialis posterior tendinopathy) could benefit with exercise that bias the medial calf (with feet turned out)
🎯Those suffering from issues on the lateral leg (peroneal tendinopathy) may benefit from exercises that target the lateral calf (with feet turned inwards).
Nunes JP, Costa BDV, Kassiano W, Kunevaliki G, Castro-E-Souza P, Rodacki ALF, Fortes LS, Cyrino ES. Different Foot Positioning During Calf Training to Induce Portion-Specific Gastrocnemius Muscle Hypertrophy. J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Aug;34(8):2347-2351.