Since running happens to be a full body exercise, almost every major muscle group is being affected by it. As a matter of fact, the majority of the sprinters and runners suffer from sore muscles in the arms and shoulders not to mention the legs after getting up in the morning following a hard day’s fitness workout. Here, we are going to mention some of the most significant muscles which are affected by running.
1. Plantar Fascia
While running we usually put one foot ahead of the other and it is the plantar fascia which happens to be a muscle that actually sets the running into a motion. Although not exactly a muscle, it helps to support the arch at the base of the foot and runs from the heel bone right up to the metatarsals. Sometimes we place weight on the feet in order to support the arch and during this time the connective tissue tends to become tense. Once the foot comes in contact with the floor, there is an increase in the length of the plantar fascia by about 12% to get ready for the push off stage, which then works as a spring for preserving energy.
2. Tibialis Posterior
The posterior tibial tendon is located deep inside the calf muscles and runs from inside of the ankle to the tibialis posterior muscle, affixing itself to the medial malleolus. This tendon helps in foot and ankle stabilization as well as supporting the arch. While taking a step forward, the toes of a runner dorsiflex, his plantar fascia becomes tense, after which shock absorption on impact is provided by his lower leg. The foot is stabilized by the posterior tibial tendon which locks the ankle into position so as to push off the ground by retaining a firm configuration. Furthermore, the tendon plays an important role in keeping the foot of an athlete in a fairly neutral position to prevent pronation as well as supination.
3. Tibialis Anterior
The tibialis anterior muscles are found alongside the front of the shin bone. These aid in supporting dorsiflexion in the toes. A correct amount of dorsiflexion will prevent the feet of a runner from getting caught on the floor at the time of a forward momentum. For example, in case the toes of a runner are not flexed upwards, they might drag the floor or maybe the athlete would move his feet laterally to avoid stumbling over stuff.
4. Calf Muscles
3 muscles consist of the calves, namely, Soleus, Gastrocnemius, and Plantaris. The runner actually uses the Gastrocnemius for raising his heel from the floor while springing ahead. Likewise, he also uses the Soleus for plantarflexion, although it is only activated once the athlete bends his knees. As a result, plantarflexion is initiated by the Gastroc prior to recruiting the Soleus. Lastly, the Plantaris moves the ankle joint and also assists in stabilization. Furthermore, the calf muscles function collectively as shock absorbers which help to safeguard the knee at the time of the foot strike part of an athlete’s step.
5. Iliotibial Band
This also known as the IT Band which is accountable for stabilizing the hips, in addition to functioning as a spring in order to release energy. This fascia, which runs from below the knee right to the hip toe, becomes involved when the athlete swings his leg in the reverse direction. Throughout the backswing, the IT band extends in an effort to hold this elastic energy. After that, the energy is released once the leg swings in the forward direction. Additionally, the IT band helps to keep the knee as well as the hip in the identical plane whilst offering stabilization to the hips.
An athlete uses his hamstrings a lot while running which include Semitendinosus, Biceps Femoris, as well as Semimembranosus. The runner propels his legs in the reverse direction during the backswing motion and this is when these muscles are employed by him. They are likewise used to drive the body ahead by building an extension at the flexion of the knee and the hip joint. The runner needs the hamstring muscles to control the leg’s inward rotation when he flexes his knees and they also aid in stabilizing the knee joint. Unlike the distance runners, the hamstrings of the sprinters are usually more well-defined, since the backswing movement plus forward power are much more exaggerated at the time of sprinting.
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