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Exercises for the CALF muscles. Learn the importance of strengthening and stretching the SHINS too.

Wendy Crink Madden | Published on 2/26/2023

Exercise Of The Month:


Last month we emphasized the importance of foot/ankle strength and mobility in runners and presented a few exercises to incorporate into your routine.

This month, we move up the chain to the calf muscles, theGASTROCNEMIUSand theSOLEUS.

As we age we can experience reduced lower leg and ankle mobility. This causes our knees, hips, and glutes to take on the load. The linked article below is very informative on age related calf weakness and I suggest you reference it for a full understanding of the importance of addressing the calf.

In the meantime, try adding the following mobility and strengthening activities to your regimen.

  • Muscle Tissue Mobility:

  • Ankle Circles both ways

  • Foam roll- gently- along the calf muscle

  • Calf Pumps - face a wall a few steps distance away, place hands on the wall and lean into it. Alternatively lift and lower each heel, pumping up and down. (or “down dog” with alternating heel pumps)

  • Strengthening:

  • Standing Calf Raises - Both Feet - Hold onto chair for balance, feet flat on floor. Raise up onto the balls of your feet, trying not to roll out towards your little toe. Hold 3-5 seconds. Repeat 8-10 times; 3 sets

  • Standing Calf Raises - Single Leg - same as above except do one foot at a time. Maintain balance. Holding onto a chair allows you to get to full range without challenging balance at the same time.

  • Eccentric Calf Raises - Begin with both feet raising up onto the forefoot. Transfer weight to left foot (don’t let right foot touch) and s-l-o-w-l-y return left heel back to floor. Repeat 10x. Repeat w/R foot. Continue with two more sets on each leg.

  • Power:

  • Hopping - single leg

  • Jumping Rope

  • Jump Squats


Road Runners Club of America USATF - New England Mill Cities Relay