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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

The strong get stronger...

We've previously discussed how the long flexors of the leg (Flexor hallucis longus, Flexor digitorum longus, Tibialis posterior, Peroneus longus & Peroneus brevis) together contribute a sizable 20-30% of force absorption during ground contact in running read here. How can we remove the contribution of these smaller muscles & isolate the larger muscles of the calf, the soleus & gastrocs?⁣

Stand on the edge of a step, curl your toes over the edge, then perform a calf raise. The flexion of the toes places the long toe flexors at a mechanical disadvantage, thereby placing greater work on the soleus & gastrocs. This exercise is also great for balance & highlights the role the toes play in keeping us steady!

How can this be implemented?

  1. Firstly this can be used as a simple test to see how much reliance you have on your smaller calf muscles. Difficulty performing this test can suggest a need for greater strengthening of the gastrocs & soleus

  2. Secondly, it can serve as a good exercise to through into the mix for some variability when rehabilitating a calf strain or Achilles tendinopathy.

Thanks to PT Scott Epsley for the inspiration for this one!

Health & High Performance: “Realize your goals”⁣


  • Mann, R.A., Moran, G.T., Dougherty, S.E., 1986. Comparative electromyography of the lower extremity in jogging, running, and sprinting. Am. J. Sports Med. 14 (6), 501–510⁣

  • Hamner, S. R., et al. (2010). "Muscle contributions to propulsion and support during running." J Biomech 43(14): 2709-2716.⁣

  • ️Anderson, F.C., Pandy, M.G., 2003. Individual muscle contributions to support in normal walking. Gait Posture 17 (2), 159–169⁣

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