calf raise

Strength Move of the Week: Calf Raises

As running coaches who promote long term, injury-free running, strength work is always a part of our recommended weekly routine for every runner out there. So, where to start? Start with just one move a week and build from there. Hot Bird Running has you covered with our Strength Move of the Week!

Move of the Week: Calf Raises
Why we love these? Calf raises feel like a miracle move sometimes. They are simple, can be done just about anywhere and help prevent shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, runner's knee, calf strains and more. Plus, they help power you up hills and pick up the pace in training and on race day.

We recommend single leg calf raises for maximum benefit because you are running on one foot at a time after all. To help with balance and proper execution, find a wall, chair or something to help you balance while you do the following:

1) Stand on a flat surface with feet hip width apart. Shift your weight onto the left foot, bending slightly at the knee to prevent locking. Draw the right knee up towards your right hip until the right foot is completely off the ground.

2) With all of your weight on your left leg, slowly lift your left heel off the ground and rise up on the ball of your foot as high as possible.

3) Slowly lower back down until the heel almost touches the ground and then rise back up on your toes again. Count to 3 on the way up and as you lower your heel back down and as you lower, emphasizing balance and control making sure movement is only in the ankles, not the knees or hips. Repeat this 15-20 times on each side.

Here's how it looks:

Base Training - Muscle Stability

A major part of staying injury free and hitting your target or goal race times is muscle stability. Your muscles need to work together, harmoniously, to properly turn over and keep you going for 20+ miles. Thus, you need strong, stable muscles and not just in your legs. We are talking core and upper body as well. A strong core will help you pick up your knees, which translates into faster times (think turnover, how many times your feet hit the ground) and a strong upper body will help keep you upright and keep those arms pumping.

Below we highlight a few exercises that we recommend to stabilize your muscles and prepare for more strength work and longer miles.  Do 30-60 seconds of each exercise, 2x. Click on each exercise to see a brief video and explanation.

  1. Bridge with Single Leg Raise
  2. Plank - Side Plank Series
  3. Opposite Arm/Leg Extension
  4. Single Leg Deadlift
  5. Single Leg Calf Raise
  6. Squat to Leg Extension
  7. Donkey Kicks
  8. Glute Press Up