Calf strength & power production Calf strength & power production

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Thread: Calf strength & power production

  1. #1
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    Question Calf strength & power production

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    I realize that calf strength may not be relevant to powerlifters or strongmen.

    However, as a long-time practitioner of Parkour, I understand that strength in mainly squat and deadlift will improve the ability to jump high and far since more strength means one can exert more power, and there is a lot of studies to confirm this claim. But what about calf strength? Calves are used a lot in Parkour, and so, improved strength should (at least logically) help with power production. But is there any studies to confirm this? AndIf that is the case, could the linear progression be applied to calf raises? What would be the best strength program for calf muscles (soleus and gastrocnemius)? For example, should one go for high or low reps? 🤔

    I'd really appreciate an answer to this question.

  2. #2
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    What do you suppose the calf muscles do in the squat and deadlift? Look at the anatomy and tell us.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    What do you suppose the calf muscles do in the squat and deadlift? Look at the anatomy and tell us.
    My guess is that the deadlift works the calves. But the calves do not go through the full range of motion when you're doing squats and/or deadlifts compared to properly performed calf raises.

  4. #4
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    Stop thinking about body parts.

  5. #5
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    Calves -- both gastrocs and soleus -- apply rearward tension to the superior tibia. They stabilize the knee, so they are under tension in both squat and deadlift, and the press. Why do you think the ROM matters in training when it is short during function?

  6. #6
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    Also, start thinking about how muscles function at both ends across a joint. What functions do the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles perform at their proximal attachment?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    What do you suppose the calf muscles do in the squat and deadlift? Look at the anatomy and tell us.
    Gastrocs are biarticular, originate at the bottom of the femur. I don't know much they shorten in a squat at deadlift.

    Soleus is mostly slow twitch fiber muscle from what "The Literature" states (probably more evolved for walking).

    The foot/ankle pronated way past "standing flat" in a jump.

  8. #8
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    power clean ... that trains the gastrocs in a similar ROM and speed as a jump

    this is the correct answer

  9. #9
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    I prefer to train calves conjugate style. One max effort day and then another dynamic effort day. The tough part is rigging all the bands and chains to the calf raise machine.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Calves -- both gastrocs and soleus -- apply rearward tension to the superior tibia. They stabilize the knee, so they are under tension in both squat and deadlift, and the press. Why do you think the ROM matters in training when it is short during function?
    Ok, well, my thought is that calf raises mimic the movement the calves does when one executes a for example a vertical jump; you push off with the calves and the muscles are more or less fully extended during the movement. As such, the question is if calf raises can help (and if so to what extent) to produce more power. During movements such as drop jumps (or 'dead landing') where the landing is performed by landing on the ball of the feet first, that movement mimics the eccentric portion of the calf raise. So, the question is, if being stronger in calf raises can help with power production in verticals and improve the ability to perform drop jumps.

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