Strengthening Below the Knee

November 10, 2011

In the previous blog (http://wp.me/p1XfMm-o) posting, I covered the importance of training the lower extremity. In this posting, we’ll explore several exercises to help train this area. This will include:
• Strength training
• Shin splint prevention drills
• Stability exercises
• Low intensity plyometrics

After we have covered these exercise, a number of sample programs will be presented.

Strength training exercises refer to calf raises. These can be done standing, seated, on a leg press, and even one leg at a time. The important thing to focus on with strength training exercises is a full range-of-motion when performing the movements.

Shin splint prevention drills are usually done in bare feet and on grass. These involve different kind of movements where the athlete walks on his/her toes or heels for a specified distance. Most common drills are: walk on the toes, walk on the heels, walk on the toes but point the toes in, walk on the toes but point the toes out, walk on the outside of the foot, walk on the inside of the foot.

Stability exercises are exercises that are done on one leg. They begin very simply (i.e. stand on one foot) and progress in difficulty to performing exercises on one foot (for example, one-legged RDL’s, one-legged squats, etc.). For athletes, it’s also good to do medicine ball tosses on one foot, keeps the exercises interesting.

Low intensity plyometrics are ankle hops that can be done in several ways. For example, hop forward, hop backward, hop diagonally. Beginners should use both legs, advanced athletes can do this one leg at a time.

What follows are some sample programs that incorporate these exercises (and others) to strengthen the foot, ankle, and shin.

 

Beginner Intermediate Elite
Warm-Up Walk on toes, 1×10 yardsWalk on heels, 1×10 yards

Dynamic flexibility exercises, 1-2×10 yards each

Dynamic flexibility exercises, 1-2×10 yards eachAnkle hops, 1×10 yards

Backward ankle hop, 1×10 yards

Diagonal ankle hops, 1×10 yards

Dynamic flexibility exercises, 1-2×10 yards eachSingle-leg ankle hops, 1×10 yards each

Single-leg backward ankle

hops, 1×10 yards each

Diagonal ankle hops, 1×10 yards each

Workout Power Clean, 3x3x60%Clean Pulls, 3x6x70%

Back Squats, 3×8-12×70%

RDL’s, 3×12-15

Calf Raises, 3×12-15

Split Clean, 3x3x60%Clean Pulls, 3x6x70%

Pause Squats, 3×3-6×70%

RDL’s, 3×8-12

Calf Raises, 3×12-15

One-Legged Clean, 3x3x60%Clean Pulls, 3x6x70%

Eccentric Squats, 3×3-6×60%

RDL’s, 3×8-12

Calf Raises, 3×12-15

Cool Down Walk on toes,1×10 yardsWalk on heels, 1×10 yards

Walk, toes in, 1×10 yards

Walk, toes out, 1×10 yards

Walk on inside of feet, 1×10 yards

Walk on outside of feet, 1×10 yards

Walk on toes,1×10 yardsWalk on heels, 1×10 yards

Walk, toes in, 1×10 yards

Walk, toes out, 1×10 yards

Walk on inside of feet, 1×10 yards

Walk on outside of feet, 1×10 yards

One-legged squats, 3×8-12 eachOne-legged RDLs, 3×8-12 each

Stand on one leg, medicine ball tosses 3×10