If you are a sprinter, how you load the forefoot bipod might be a variable for speed or injury. Tendons can change their cross sectional area, if you load them.

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 6.17.21 PM.png

Of course this article is not exclusive for sprinters, it pertains to any running sport, even endurance.

Maximum isometric force had increased by 49% and tendon CSA by 17% !
Tendons can change their cross sectional area, if you load them.

Here I show lateral forefoot loading in a heel raise, and a medial forefoot loading in heel raise. This has to be part of the discovery process outlined below. Forefoot types will play into the loading choice, and unequal strength of the medial or lateral calf compartment will also play into the loading choice made. Where do you need to put your strength ? And is the forefoot competent to take that loading challenge ? Meaning, do they have a forefoot valgus? A forefoot supinatus ? These things matter. If you are a sprinter, how you load the forefoot bipod might be a variable of foot type, asymmetrical posterior compartment strength, or foot strike pattern in the frontal plane (search our blog for cross over gait and glute medius targeting strategies for step width) ,or a combination of several or all of the above. These things matter, and why and where you put your strength matters, if you are even aware of where and how you are putting the loads, and why of course. Of course, then there are people like the recent Outside online article that says how you foot strike doesn’t matter, but it does matter. But of course, if you do not know the things we have just mentioned, it is easy to write such an article.

Isometrics are useful, they have their place. In a recent podcast we discussed the place and time to use isometrics, isotonics, eccentrics and concentrics.
One of the goals in a tendinopathy is to restore the tendon stiffness. Isometrics are a safe way to load the muscle tendon complex without engaging a movement that might have to go through a painful arc of movement. With isometrics here is neurologic overspill into the painful arc without having to actually go there.
The key seems to be load. More load seems to get most people further along. Remember, the tendon is often problematic because it is inflammed and cannot provide a stiffness across its expanse. Heavy isometric loading seems to be a huge key for most cases. But, we have to say it here, not everyone fits this mold. Some tendons, in some people, will respond better to eccentrics, and strangely enough, some cases like stretching (perhaps because this is a subset of an eccentric it seems or because there is a range of motion issue in the joint that is a subset of the problem). Now the literature suggests that stretching is foolish, but each case is unique all in its own way, and finding what works for a client is their medicine, regardless of what the literature and research says.
Finding the right load for a given tendon and a right frequency of loading and duraction of loading is also case by case specific. Part of finding the right loading position is a discovery process as well, as noted in the photos above. Finding the fascicles you want to load, and the ones you do not want to load (painful) can be a challenging discovery process for you and your client. Finding the right slice of the pie to load, and the ones not to load takes experimentation. When it is the achilles complex, finding the safe However, if one is looking for a rough template to build from, brief, often, heavy painfree loads is a good template recipe to start with.

Here, in this Geremia et al article, "ultrasound was used to determine Achilles tendon cross-sectional area (CSA), length and elongation as a function of plantar flexion torque during voluntary plantar flexion."
They discovered that, "At the end of the training program, maximum isometric force had increased by 49% and tendon CSA by 17%, but tendon length, maximal tendon elongation and maximal strain were unchanged. Hence, tendon stiffness had increased by 82%, and so had Young’s modulus, by 86%.

Effects of high loading by eccentric triceps surae training on Achilles tendon properties in humans. Jeam Marcel Geremia, Bruno Manfredini Baroni, Maarten Frank Bobbert, Rodrigo Rico Bini, Fabio Juner Lanferdini, Marco Aurélio Vaz
European Journal of Applied Physiology
August 2018, Volume 118, Issue 8, pp 1725–1736

The Perfect Forefoot Bipod 
 The ostrich is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the  ability to run at maximum speeds of about 70 kilometres per hour  (43 mph)   [ 3 ]   , the top land speed of any bird. 
 he bird has just two toes on each foot (most birds have four), with the  nail  on the larger, inner toe resembling a  hoof . The outer toe has no nail.   [ 14 ]    The reduced number of toes is an adaptation that appears to aid in  running. Ostriches can run at over 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) for  up to 30 minutes. Although this bird cannot fly, it can run faster than the swiftest horse.their primary means of locomotion is running, so the feet have developed  into feet fit for frequent, and very fast running especially to escape  preditors. If it would keep on in a straight line no animal could overtake it; but it is sometimes so foolish as to run around in a circle, and then, after a long chase, it may perhaps be caught.  A traveller speaking of the ostrich, says, “She sets off at a hard gallop; but she afterwards spreads her wings as if to catch the wind, and goes so rapidly that she seems not to touch the ground.”  This explains what is meant by the verse, “When she lifteth up herself on high she scorneth the horse and his rider.” 
 It is a good thing that ostrich’s do not wear shoes. Over time their feet would have weakened and flattened and they would need orthotics.  Some animals are just smarter than humans. 
 :-)

The Perfect Forefoot Bipod

The ostrich is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at maximum speeds of about 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph)[3], the top land speed of any bird.

he bird has just two toes on each foot (most birds have four), with the nail on the larger, inner toe resembling a hoof. The outer toe has no nail.[14] The reduced number of toes is an adaptation that appears to aid in running. Ostriches can run at over 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) for up to 30 minutes. Although this bird cannot fly, it can run faster than the swiftest horse.their primary means of locomotion is running, so the feet have developed into feet fit for frequent, and very fast running especially to escape preditors. If it would keep on in a straight line no animal could overtake it; but it is sometimes so foolish as to run around in a circle, and then, after a long chase, it may perhaps be caught. A traveller speaking of the ostrich, says, “She sets off at a hard gallop; but she afterwards spreads her wings as if to catch the wind, and goes so rapidly that she seems not to touch the ground.” This explains what is meant by the verse, “When she lifteth up herself on high she scorneth the horse and his rider.”

It is a good thing that ostrich’s do not wear shoes. Over time their feet would have weakened and flattened and they would need orthotics.  Some animals are just smarter than humans.

:-)