Seated Calf Soleus Raise for Runners

Whether for performance gains or as part of rehab for a painful Achilles, strengthening of the soleus muscle can be a highly beneficial addition to any runnerโ€™s strength training program.

Despite popular belief, the soleus muscle of the calf complex actually contributes more to force production during running than the gastrocnemius, essentially because during running it deals with the loads whilst the knee is bent. Research suggests the soleus produces up to 50% of the total vertical support; to put that into perspective, whilst the gastrocnemius produces forces of about three times your body weight during running, the soleus produces around eight times your body weight.

To target the soleus when you do your calf raises, studies have shown that your knee needs to be bent to at least 80 degrees. The most practical way of achieving this is performing the calf raises whilst seated (maintaining a deep bend in the knee whilst standing can put unnecessary strain on the knee).

NOTE: In case of some injuries, dropping the heel over the edge of a step may not be appropriate during certain stages of rehabilitation. Insertional Achilles tendinopathy is one such example where the aggravated part of the tendon is close to the attachment point on the heel. Dropping the heel over the side of a step can cause the tendon to compress against the heel bone and delay recovery. If in doubt, check with a professional. More details at

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