Running & Injury Prevention: The Calves⁣🏃


The Gatrocnemius and Soleus are the two muscles that make up your “calf” muscle. These two muscles join together to become the Achilles’ tendon, the strongest and thickest tendon in your body. ⁣

As a runner, we place high demand on our calf muscles and Achilles’ tendon. Keeping our muscles and tendons strong and flexible is an important way to improve performance and decrease risk for injury. ⁣

➡️ Gastrocnemius Strengthening: Keeping both knees straight while performing heel raises off of a step.⁣

➡️ Soleus Strengthening: Keeping both knees bent while performing heel raises off of a step.⁣

▫️These exercises concentrically and eccentrically train our calf muscles and load our Achilles’ tendon. ⁣

▫️ 3 x 10-15 reps ⁣

▫️ Challenge yourself: Single Leg Heel Raises⁣

➡️ Gastrocnemius Stretching: Place your hands on a support surface in front of you and lean forward, step one heel back and anchor it into the ground, keeping your back leg straight while bending your front knee. ⁣

➡️ Soleus Stretching: Place your hands on a support surface in front of you and lean forward, step one heel back and anchor it into the ground, keeping your back leg bent while also bending your front knee. ⁣

▫️ These static stretches help to lengthen the muscle and increase mobility. ⁣

▫️ Hold 3 x 30 seconds⁣

Run Training Session 

Track Run Train

Track Intervals: ⁣

🔹 800m warm-up⁣

🔹 10 x 400m sprints ⁣

▪️1 min 30 second rest⁣ in-between

▪️[work:rest ratio of 1:1]⁣

🔹 800m cool-down⁣

Interval training is a great way to improve VO2 max. VO2 max refers to the amount of oxygen your body can utilize during your workout and it’s one of the most common ways to measure cardiovascular fitness!

Questions or concerns?⁣⁣⁣

Follow @natalie.dpt for more running tips!

Run Happy, Run Healthy!✨⁣⁣


Natalie Niemczyk, PT, DPT

Running Technique Specialist

Runner, Triathlete

@StonyBrookU Alum

Hamstring Strain🏃🏻‍♀️

The hamstrings are the muscle group located in the posterior aspect of your thighs and are made up of the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris. They work to control knee flexion and hip extension. 


💥Hamstring strains are common injuries that can occur in runners and athletes. Rehabilitation for a hamstring strain focuses on loading & lengthening, eccentric control and trunk & pelvic stability.

➡️ Extenders: Hold your affected leg in 90 degrees of hip flexion. Bend and unbend your knee and stop when moderate stretch is felt and just BEFORE discomfort occurs. 


➡️ Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the surface, then lift your hips up towards the ceiling. 

▫️Loading and Trunk & Pelvic Stability 

➡️ Planks: Place your elbows under your shoulders, curl your back toes under and keep your hips in line with your shoulders.

▫️Trunk & Pelvic Stability 

➡️ Supine Hamstring Curls with Ball: Place the physioball under your heels, lift your hips into a bridge position and bend your knees, bringing the ball towards your glutes and back out.

▫️Loading and Eccentric Control

➡️ Nordics: Kneel on the floor and bend your knees into 90 degrees with your lower legs behind you. Anchor your shins and feet down with weights or have someone hold your feet throughout the exercise. Move your body towards the ground slowly. 

▫️Eccentric Control

➡️ Divers: Keep the affected leg on the floor with a 10-20 degree bend in the knee. Lift the opposite leg up while reaching the arms out forward.

▫️Loading, Lengthening & Eccentric Control

➡️ Gliders: Place the unaffected leg on a slider (or a towel underneath your foot with a wood surface.) Keep your body weight over your affected leg, with your knee kept at 10-20 degrees of flexion, with your foot dorsiflexed. Hold onto a support surface while sliding your unaffected leg back behind you. Stop when you feel a moderate stretch or BEFORE discomfort is felt then use the bar and your upper body to pull your leg back up to the starting position. 

▫️Loading, Lengthening & Eccentric Control

Questions or concerns?⁣⁣⁣

Follow @natalie.dpt for more running tips!

Run Happy, Run Healthy!✨⁣⁣


Natalie Niemczyk, PT, DPT

Running Technique Specialist

Runner, Triathlete

@StonyBrookU Alum

Crossfit, Boxing, and Movement.

Anyone who knows me understands that I speak in a string of movie quotes or silly made up words for anatomical terms; that covers my whole day. But if I was going line for line with the actor from my favorite movie, I probably wouldn't be able to recall his name. And I will never be able to quote How I Met Your Mother no matter how much peer pressure goes on guys.

I’ve never fan-girled over a celebrity, but last week there was a moment. There may have been a squeal in the excitement. Someone who inspires me professionally, who I count on to spark interesting meaningful discussion; she quoted me. It was a moment of, ‘hey, we’re listening’. And it reminded me that if I want my message to be heard, our message as physical therapists, I need to start talking. Thanks @themovementmaestro, you’re awesome. Check it out. 


The discussion was one that I have with patients and colleagues everyday in the clinic, in the gym, even at home. Is [Insert choice of exercise modality, fad workout, online training app] bad for you?

Unfortunately, crossfit has gotten a bad rep. That’s not because the crossfit workout is bad. There are numerous arguments agreeing with that assertion; We'll save that for another time. My defense, the quote that inspired my voice, is that “poorly executed movement and sloppy form in any workout can lead to injury. But sitting on your couch afraid of movement is exponentially worse.

As a doctor of physical therapy working primarily with the fitness population, this statement is a summary of my mission. Almost every patient that sits down to tell me about their pain, mentions something along the lines of ‘I know I should have rested more’ or ‘I know I’ll never go back to [insert sport, workout, class]. It’s not crossfit. It’s not running. It’s not barre. I want to scream this so everyone hears. The limiting factor is not the workout. It is you. 

That was harsh. But hear me out. Let’s go to a fun example. In the spring, a young guy in average shape came in with patella-femoral pain after boxing for 2 months. He told me his story, went through the physical exam, determined there was no urgent pathological cause. Told him to stand up and throw a few punches. He stared at me puzzled laying flat on his back on the exam table. “Get up and hit me,” I repeated holding my hands up. 


Nontraditional I know. Yet after a couple jab-cross combos I could see the problem. I’m no boxer, but I know you pivot on your back foot when you throw a punch across your body. He was pivoting with his back heel flat on the ground. DEMO: Stand up-keep your right heel on the ground-twist your knee in. Now imagine doing that for 45 minutes of an hour training session 3 days a week. Yeah, my knee hurts just thinking about it. 

Again, I am not a boxer. I am a movement expert. That is the definition of a physical therapist. We study movement. For 7 years. I may not be able to teach him correct boxing techniques. But I sure as hell taught him how to pivot on his toe and strengthen his hips to maintain that form. PS I’m not blaming his instructor for this flaw because even with verbal cueing he wasn’t strong enough to maintain proper form. So no pointing fingers!

This boxing client of mine, he came in saying things like “I know I should have rested sooner” and “I have to find a safer way to get in shape.” HE LEFT…with a clear plan of x amount of weeks to strengthen before returning to his sport. He left with the understanding that rest wouldn’t have solved his problem of poor form and poor execution. And most important, he left WITHOUT fear of movement. 

That’s the goal. The ultimate goal is to spread awareness that movement is the medicine. Everyone needs a few tweaks here and there. Be smart about your exercise. Listen to your body. Learn to ask for feedback. Seek out a movement expert.


Comment with your thoughts. Start a discussion. 

Help spread the message by sharing this post. Keep in touch by following @houseofphysicaltherapy on social media. Exciting things to come!

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