In addition to glute and core strength, the gastrocnemius-soleus (GS) complex also has an important role during running. “Peak forces in the Achilles tendon can be estimated; these forces range from 6-8x body weight, with the greatest forces generated during mid-stance of running.” Also, the literature suggests 90% of the force at the ankle in running is efficiently absorbed and transferred by the Achilles tendon via elastic potential energy.
The musculotendinous unit of the GS and Achilles tendon are responsible for shock absorption and force generation. That means running demands eccentric and concentric muscle action from this unit. Also, we know training increases the tensile and maximum static strength of the tendon. Exercise increases collagen synthesis, the number and size of the fibrils, and the concentration of metabolic enzymes.”
We want to train this unit in that exact way. This is a great drill for runners as it focuses on calf strength with the hip and knee in an extended position that also incorporates a single leg stability component. Be sure to add this exercise to your training regiment to improve your single leg strength, balance, and control.
Be sure to have SOUND ON to learn key tips with this exercise!
Novacheck TF. The biomechanics of running. Gait Posture. 1998;7(1):77–95.