As an avid runner, I know that sometimes Achilles tendinitis can flare up after long runs. The condition is common and causes heel pain, which can keep you from running and other activities. Alleviating the pain may require some calf strengthening and flexibility as well as some additional physical therapy. But there are other things you can do to keep moving and retain mobility and a certain amount of strength in the lower body.
As a result of my bout with Achilles tendinitis, I toyed with a few ideas and programs that were successful in keeping me in the game.
Your gluteal muscles are powerhouses for lower body movements–you need to keep them active and engaged regularly. This program requires walking (later running) on an incline. It adds a natural resisting force of gravity that recruits glutes and quads much more than walking on a flat surface. You can recruit over double the amount of lower body muscles in this way. Gradually work your way up to the greatest incline you can tolerate without pain at a moderate intensity walk during the warm up (6 minutes). As soon as you hit the highest incline, begin the workout (Total time: 45 minutes):
- 1 minute walking at a higher intensity without leaning forward too far followed by 1 minute sumo squats off of the treadmill. Repeat this combination 12 times.
- Follow up with a cool down on a completely flat treadmill platform walking at a moderate intensity (5 minutes). Perform stretches or foam roll for an additional 10 minutes.
As your Achilles heals, you can change the walking to jogging and then eventually running. This is just one of the many ways you can train to increase lower body muscle recruitment and progress your fitness.
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