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This Part 3 of a multi-part series. Part 1 talked about the injury cycle and the 4 stages of diagnosing your injury. Part 2 explained why regular strength training does not work, and why you need to do heavy load eccentric contractions. Part 2 also showed the Heel Drop exercise.
So, here is Part 2 of How to Strengthen your Achilles Tendon, and it’s called Eccentric Squat and Reach . I assume you are at the Stage 1 and maybe a mild Stage 2 of the injury cycle before attempting these exercises. If you are in Stage 3 or 4, you must wait until you recover (details in later articles on how to recover faster)
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As a quick summary, here are the 4 types of exercises that are heavy load eccentric contractions and emulate running mechanics.
- Phase 1: the eccentric knee squat, two legs
- Phase 2: the eccentric knee squat, single leg
- Phase 3: balance and eccentric reach with toes
- Phase 4: balance and eccentric reach with knee
Start with 6-8 reps, then go to 10 reps, then aim for 15 reps. Unlike the heel drop routine yesterday, you want to add all 4 exercises to your routine.
Once you can do all 4 phases at 15 reps, you can make it harder by:
- doing up to 3 sets
- going to 20 or 25 reps
- wearing a weight vest or holding dumbbells
- going faster
- doing a greater range of motion
Note in the video how much twisting there is on the Achilles when the knee is bent (the squat part) and when the other leg is going side to side.
Special thanks to Walt Reynolds who showed these exercises to me many many years ago. I wished I applied them sooner.
To be continued…