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Thread: Does Strength Training your calves lead to a better sprint performance

  1. #1

    Question Does Strength Training your calves lead to a better sprint performance

    Referring to "Training For Speed" by Charlie Francis, Francis on page 55 states that " Note 1. 500 watts of power generated at the ankle vs 3500 watts at the hip. Note 2. Calves must not be over developed as excessive size can overweight the end of the leg-lever and slow leg movement."

    On Note 1. You should still strength train calves because even a 7:1 power ratio i.e. 500 watts is still power that can help a sprinter become faster.

    On Note 2. I understand this point and even agree with it (looking at the musculature of cheetas their arm and leg mass are puny compared to their body); however (playing Devil's Advocate), doesn't the strength (and potential power) benefits outweigh this effect. I am referring to the (hips, knees, and finally ankle) triple extension in sprinting.

    I don't know nearly as much as Charlie Francis or any other great Olympic sprint coach but I do want a better explanation and possibly some reasons and examples.

  2. #2
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    The sprinting in spikes itself are enough muscle fiber stimulation for the calves. Along with olympic lifts such as powercleans which you are also using the calve muscle.

    The only time i do extra calf work is now (during my offseason) where i do toe raises to maintain strength since i am not running.

  3. #3
    Administrator Charlie Francis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supervenomsuperman
    Referring to "Training For Speed" by Charlie Francis, Francis on page 55 states that " Note 1. 500 watts of power generated at the ankle vs 3500 watts at the hip. Note 2. Calves must not be over developed as excessive size can overweight the end of the leg-lever and slow leg movement."

    On Note 1. You should still strength train calves because even a 7:1 power ratio i.e. 500 watts is still power that can help a sprinter become faster.

    On Note 2. I understand this point and even agree with it (looking at the musculature of cheetas their arm and leg mass are puny compared to their body); however (playing Devil's Advocate), doesn't the strength (and potential power) benefits outweigh this effect. I am referring to the (hips, knees, and finally ankle) triple extension in sprinting.

    I don't know nearly as much as Charlie Francis or any other great Olympic sprint coach but I do want a better explanation and possibly some reasons and examples.
    In sprinting, power speed drills, plyos, strength end, etc the claves do a tremendous amount of work already.

  4. #4
    I Think Its Simple,

    You Squat, Clean, Snatch, Jump, Sprint And Bound And You Grow Big Strong Calves.

    I Have Seen It In My Own Training As Well As My Athletes!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Francis
    In sprinting, power speed drills, plyos, strength end, etc the claves do a tremendous amount of work already.
    JUST TO PLAY THE DEVILS ADVOCATE....
    Cant one say the same for the quads, hams, and glutes?

  6. #6
    Administrator Charlie Francis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QUIKAZHELL
    JUST TO PLAY THE DEVILS ADVOCATE....
    Cant one say the same for the quads, hams, and glutes?
    The calves are involved to an extensive degree in all these activities while the other groups are involved to varying degrees depending on the activity. I'm always trying to explain my reasoning for choosing the exercises I did or didn't do.
    Might be better to turn this around. Can someone show us a program that has been very successful that does work the calves separately? It's easier then to decide which plan you prefer.

  7. #7
    Clemson
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    Since I have been called worse things then the devil....Doesn't Dan do specific calf work as well?

  8. #8
    Administrator Charlie Francis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clemson
    Since I have been called worse things then the devil....Doesn't Dan do specific calf work as well?
    I don't know, beyond single and double leg hops holding a med ball. This might be similar to power-speed drills done with a weight vest (something I've used as well) though the volume/duration appears higher.
    Do you have details that you can post?

  9. #9
    Goose2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clemson
    Since I have been called worse things then the devil....Doesn't Dan do specific calf work as well?
    I did read from "Faccioni's" (I think that's the spelling), literature, that Dan Pfaff recomended something that was listed as "Eccentric calves", in the weights program for his sprinters.

    Faccioni can easily be found on Google search from typing words such as;

    Dan Pfaff John Smith drive phase sprint speed training Faccioni squats etc...

    Copy and paste above words to Google search, open up the link that will come up; "speed developement methods".

    http://www.oztrack.com/USA%20Speed%2...ion%202000.pdf

    The above will take you to "Acrobat reader", go to page 20, it sais "eccentric calves".

  10. #10
    Goose2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supervenomsuperman
    On Note 2. I understand this point and even agree with it (looking at the musculature of cheetas their arm and leg mass are puny compared to their body); however (playing Devil's Advocate), doesn't the strength (and potential power) benefits outweigh this effect. I am referring to the (hips, knees, and finally ankle) triple extension in sprinting.

    I don't know nearly as much as Charlie Francis or any other great Olympic sprint coach but I do want a better explanation and possibly some reasons and examples.
    Sprint drills and sprints in spikes plus weighted jumps have actually built my calves MORE than what a calf raise machine ever did anyway. Though I'm not sure if that same affect can be said for others that have done both.

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