The calves may be a small muscle group, but they have a big job – bigger, proportionally speaking, than the glutes and thighs when it comes to generating force, according to new research. The force required by the quads
1 to run represents around 63 per cent of their maximum capability. For the calves, the figure is 84 per cent. ‘Good calf strength is my number one non-negotiable requirement for runners,’ says physiotherapist Alison Rose (cspc.co.uk). Rose says runners should be able to handle three sets of 25 single-leg calf raises with a bent knee and a straight knee at the end of a run. ‘You should be able to go to full range (determine this by doing a rep with both legs at the same time) without shaking or wobbling.’ Struggling? Follow Rose’s guide to building calf strength (right).