I never thought I would be the guy who got on a Boeing 767 flight to Dallas and be irritated that I wasn’t on a Boeing 777. No wifi, no electrical outlets, and no personal in-flight entertainment. I feel little bit like a spoiled little brat for even having those thoughts.
After a pretty grueling week of travel in Europe I’m finally sitting on the flight home to Dallas. Pretty excited about it too. However, the week did provide an interesting twist that is normally not true of trips I take. I got to train hard and full time during my entire trip. Sitting on the airplane headed home isn’t hear as comfortable for this reason.
That brings me to my point. Ironically one of my most sore muscles currently is my gastroc muscle in my calves. Typically I am fighting tight hips or sore quads or an aggravated shoulder but today’s pain sits firmly in my gastroc.
It’s pretty obvious why my gastroc muscles would be sore as the amount of abuse they take in the Olympic lifts is directly correlated to the explosive extension created at the top of the second pull. A while back John Garhammer informed me that my gastroc would take the most abuse in the Olympic lifts as it is the muscle primarily used for fast twitch explosive power. The soleus on the other hand is most utilized in stability work and in balance.
This week Ursula began really upping the reps in higher percentages for the lifts and when combined with last weekend’s competition my calves are taking a beating. I wanted to write this article for two reasons. First to remind lifters of how essential their calf muscle are in the sequencing of the lifts. Sure they are not primary sources of power or even a major source of power for the lifts BUT they certainly are an active part of the lifts which means they must be considered. Second since the calves are the final part in the sequence of extension they need to be taken care of and are most often ignored. Lifters love to focus on caring for the legs and back. Taking all that Garhammer stated and how my calves feel right now, don’t ignore them. Don’t believe me? Have a good massage therapist do some work on your gastroc. I bet you’ll find that you use them more than you think.