Hey fitness freaks, when is the last time you gave serious consideration to your calf muscles? They are constantly used when we walk, run, or even stand. They provide stability and aid in our balance, yet sometimes we don’t train them like we should. The quads and hammies seem to be the focus of much of our leg work. I guess its because they are the larger of the leg muscle groups.
Many guys, and gals struggle to make gains when they train their calves, here are some common reasons why.
a) Training them just before you leave the gym on leg day.
b) Training them with too heavy of a weight. (You should shoot for 50 reps!)
c) Point your toes both inward and outward to maximize the workload.
d) Get a full range of motion, with a strong contraction at the top of the movement.
e) Stretch and hold it!
Here are 3 basic movements to turn your calves into cows.
1) Standing Calf Raise
These can be done with either a barbell or while holding dumbells. Placing your toes on a plate or a board will help you get a maximum contraction and stretch.
2) Leg Press Calf Raise
Also called a “Toe Press,” make sure you get a good stretch, I can’t stress this enough!
3) Donkey Calf Raises
No weights necessary! This is how the big boys did them back in the day. Do you recognize any of them? Think “Pumping Iron,” a must watch for any fitness enthusiast.
Because the calves are worked on a regular basis, you can train them almost daily, just like your abs and forearms. However, if you hit them really hard and are sore, I recommend giving them 48 hours to rest and recover.
STRETCH THEM OUT!
This called a “Downward Dog” and is an excellent method of stretching the calves. You should try to hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds.
Swimming works the calves along with the rest of the legs muscles. It also avoids the impact of running or jumping. Because it’s low-impact, it’s also a safe way to strengthen calves if you’re recovering from an injury.
Ok, I know this wasn’t necessary, but a little bit of judicial eye candy never hurt anyone did it?
So now you might have a little more info on how to make your calves grow. Of course, proper nutrition and rest is crucial, but I’m assuming you know that by now. Happy Training!