Progression to plyometric exercises is very important for return to sport after a calf strain.
When can you start plyometrics after a calf strain? We use the following objective criteria:
Seated and standing calf raise on AxIT within 10% of the uninjured side
25+ calf raises, <10% asymmetry
Calf raise height & bent knee calf raise height within 10% of the uninjured side
Bent knee calf raise endurance within 10% of the uninjured side
Pulses are a great intermediate exercise to prepare for plyometrics. Click here to read more about these.
These can then be progressed to:
Submaximal jumping on the spot
Submaximal hopping on the spot: quality vs other side
Multidirectional submaximal hopping
Start with concentric-biased, progress to force absorption and then stretch shortening cycle exercises. When performing plyometrics for the first time, it is advisable to keep repetitions low between 25-50 landings.
double up, step down
single up, step down
Catching in DL squat from 15cm, then 30cm
Catching in split stance from 15cm
Catching in SL squat from 15cm, 30cm
Stretch shortening cycle and reactive training:
Bilateral drop jump: starting point 15cm, progress height
Unilateral drop jump
Skipping: single and double unders
Broad jump, multiple broad jump
Single leg hop for distance, triple hop