Do you have efficient running calf muscles? Or does calf tightness limit your running every single time? Try this test!

Do you get tight calves when you run?

Does this calf pain limit you even more than being out of breath does?

This is an incredibly common complaint with our runners!

Stop spending hours stretching your calves and spend time doing things that will actually improve your pace. While it may feel like your body NEEDS to stretch, that tightness might be a sign of something else… fatigue.

Indeed, research shows there is a medium to strong correlation of calf raise strength and sprinting performance. For more info on that, read here.

However, we understand that many runners don’t spend a lot of time in the gym doing strength work. However, if there’s one thing we could recommend that would improve your running capacity, it’s to improve your calf strength and endurance.


  • Single leg calf raises to fatigue

The rules

  • Do the test in socks or bare-feet only.
  • 1 finger on a wall for balance only.
  • Must go through full range for a rep to count
  • Must go straight up onto your big toe (don’t roll your ankles out)

The results

  • At MCAP, for our recreational runners, we aim for 25 calf raises in a row without stopping.
  • However, for our more advanced athletes, we aim for at least 30, and train this exercise using heavy weights.

Finally, some ways to improve calf strength and endurance:

  1. Bodyweight single leg calf raises for beginners.
  2. Calf raises using a smith machine is a great way to use heavier weights
  3. Skipping rope is helpful for teaching your calf to absorb impact, and also helps increase tendon stiffness (a stiff tendon is like a powerful, coiled spring!)
  4. Knee curls – many people forget that one of your big calf muscles, the gastrocnemius, helps your knee bend. So by training a knee curl, you’ll not only get some hamstring work, you’ll also get that calf muscle working hard too! The picture below shows how this exercise also targets the calf muscle.


tight calves when you run can be weak calves, so this machine can help get you strong.

How did you perform? If you get tight calves when you run and need some help getting those calves into shape, book in for a physio appointment at our Essendon or Brunswick clinic.

Your running times depend on it!

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