Severs Week 3 - Stretches And Strength Exercises

We are introducing three new elements into the daily routine. A bent leg calf isometric, a stretching routine and some bodyweight strength exercises

This week's activities

For week three we are making a number of changes to the program. Including the introduction of a workout routine, to be completed three times per week. The other big change is that the calf isometrics have moved to be part of the workouts and not the daily routine.

Severs quick links:

Download the Severs program workbook here →

Join the Facebook support group →

Read the Severs Knowledge base →

Foam rolling and Stretching quick guide PDF →

The daily routine is still to be done every day. It now contains:

  • Foam rolling, 10 rolls each position
  • The Crouching Three stretches, 30 seconds per position each leg
  • Glute activation routine, five reps each leg for each variation
  • Standing calf isometrics, just two sets of 45 seconds each leg
  • Bent leg calf isometrics, just two sets of 45 seconds each leg
  • Keep logging your pain levels before and after the days program

The workout routine. To be done three times per week, with at least 48 hours rest between each workout. It contains:

  • Glute bridges, three sets. See workbook for reps
  • Bodyweight squats, three sets. See workbook for reps

*On days when you perform the workout routine, this can be done separately or combined with the daily routine.

Instructions for the new exercises can be found further down this page.

My heel pain hasn’t improved very much yet, am I doing something wrong?
By this stage, your heel pain should be beginning to lower. It’s not uncommon for athletes to have seen a 50% reduction in average pain numbers at this point.

If that’s the case for you, congratulations!

If this is not the case for you, don’t despair, every Severs case is unique and recovers at its own rate. If your heels are still as sore now as when you started (check your workbook), we recommend you repeat week two of the program and start foam rolling twice a day while continuing to do calf isometrics once per day.

**It’s worth mentioning that you should be looking for the general trend in your pain numbers in the workbook, an occasional random low or high number is pretty typical, but try to use the numbers as a trend. Is the pain gradually going up, staying the same, or going down?

Basic Stretches And Glute Activation

Welcome to Week 3 of the Severs training program.

This week, we are introducing three new elements into the daily routine. A basic stretching routine, a short glute activation series, and a bent leg variation of the calf isometrics.

Week three also brings a change to the structure of the program. You will continue with the daily routine, but from this week onwards you will add a strength training and movement skill workout three times a week. We suggest you have at least 48 hours rest between each of these workouts to allow for recovery.

Let’s get started!

Week 3 - Instructions And Resources

Basic Stretches: The Crouching Three

This static stretching routine helps rapidly growing teenagers and children to loosen off their tight muscles and deload their growth plates.

Static stretching is often overlooked by athletes because it’s painful, boring and for many athletes, it’s the broccoli of sport.

Despite this, consistently stretching is one of the most high-value things you can do for your durability, recovery and vertical leap. For Severs, it’s a brilliant way to help your tight muscles keep up with your growing bones.

To maximise your results, each position should be held for a gentle 30-second stretch. You should feel a light stretching sensation in the muscle but never any joint or back pain. None of these stretches are specifically for the calf or ankle just yet, those stmore intense stretches will be introduced at a later point.

WARNING: Make sure you use a soft, thick cushion to protect your knees. These stretches should always be comfortable.
Always do this stretching routine after your foam rolling and prior to any strength training exercises. This routine takes approximately three minutes to complete.

This short video below explains how to perform the stretches. Our free interval timing app has a pre-built timer for this routine to help guide you.

Glute Activation

In a perfect world, every muscle would do its job all the time. Unfortunately, not all of us are biomechanically perfect, and most people have some degree of faulty muscle activation.

When it comes to Severs, inactive and weak glutes will alter running, squatting, jumping and landing patterns and can lead to an overload of the heels and calves during sport (this is also a root cause of Osgood Schlatters). By maximising the activation of the glutes during movement you will create an active deload whereby the ground reaction forces of sport will be distributed evenly through the entire lower body musculature, creating an active deload of your heels and knees.

You should perform this glute activation routine directly after your stretching.

The video below shows instructions for how to perform the glute activation routine. You only need to perform one set of each exercise in the series.

Bent leg calf isometrics

We don't have a great video of the bent leg isometrics, but they follow the same technical cues as the Soleus calf raise. The only modification is that instead of going through reps up and down, you hold in the middle position of the rep for the prescribed amount of time. This should be relatively pain-free so if the mid position gives you discomfort in the heel then try a lower holding position (with the heel closer to the ground.


Strength workout: Glute Bridges

Glute bridges are a great exercise for building up hip and core strength without much loading or stress on the heels.

Glute bridges will be a big emphasis for the next few weeks of the program. Not only will you do 10 reps of them every day with your daily glute activation routine, but three times a week, you will need to do extra sets glute bridges as part of your new strength workout.

Check out the video below for some form pointers, and pay attention to the reps on each day of the workbook, as these will progressively increase. Take your time with these and do not rush the movement.

Strength workout: Shallow Squats

Squatting is one of the most important strength movements for building all round lower body strength and helping beat your Severs Disease. Start shallow and focus on great technique with a smooth pattern.

Most athletes with sore heels or knees are a bit hesitant to do squats, however, they are one of the best things you can do for a lifetime of healthy, happy knees and heels if you do them correctly.

The major problem is that almost everyone does them wrong, too deep, too wide, too knee dominant, caving in at the knees, bent and twisted spines. It can be a mess.

Learning to squat properly has a huge payoff. It will help strengthen your glutes, quads, calves, and core and most crucially, a glute dominant squat pattern will translate to improved jumping and landing technique which is crucial for rapidly growing young athletes.

This short video below explains how to perform the squats. You may not get as low as James does in the example and that is fine, just work with what you have.

That's it for Week 3

Continue foam rolling routine, performing the calf isometric holds and now add in the, stretches, glute activation, bridges and squats. You can find the exact sets and reps to complete in your workbook.

Severs quick links:

Download the Severs program workbook here →

Join the Facebook support group →

Read the Severs Knowledge base →

Foam rolling and Stretching quick guide PDF →