Instructions: Lunge forward with one leg. Focus on keeping your core muscles tight throughout the movement. Don't let the knee of your front leg bend past the tip of your toes. Advanced runners can perform this exercise holding a medicine ball and twisting when they bring their leg out for added difficulty. Work your way up to 15 repetitions on each leg.
The Achilles and Ankle Complex
The Achilles tendon is the thickest and strongest tendon in your body; it connects your calf muscles to the back of your heel.
The Role of the Achilles and Ankle Complex and Reasons for Injury
The key power generator at push off is the ankle joint and Achilles tendon, not the quads, which is a common misconception.
If we observe the ankle joint during a typical running stride, we can see clearly that it goes through an extensive range of motion. It helps the ankle joint and the connected ligaments and muscles act as a spring to generate power.
The Achilles transmits virtually all of the force generated when you toe off the ground during running—this force can be as much as three times your body weight. And the faster you run, the more strain you put on the Achilles tendon.
Therefore, the primary cause of injuries to the Achilles tendon is excessive stress, which can be instigated in three ways:
- improper running form: the Achilles tries to make up for a lack of power that should be generated from the hips and glutes during fast running
- weak tendon structure
- poor ankle range of motion.