The question we’re asked time and time again from people (especially guys) is how do they create a nice, defined and full calf muscle? It’s something that for many people, comes naturally, especially runners doing a lot of outdoor hill work. But for your typical gym-goer who spends most of their time in the gym working upper body, hitting your calves in such a way as to build decent size is not an easy task. To that end, we’ve come up with a simple calf workout that you should be able to introduce into your routine (it literally takes 10 minutes) and allow you to start building up those calves that you want to show up in a pair of shorts. We should add, not only is this training routine ideal for guys, but also bodybuilders, women or anyone else looking to develop their calves.
When you first start the routine, you’re likely to feel pain for the first few days after. Stay with it and do it at least twice a week. The calves are muscles you can train pretty hard on a regular basis – once you’ve started to get used to it! However, make sure you do proper stretches after, otherwise, it’s a recipe for days of pain or, worse still, the onset of an injury!
We’d also never recommend you do much less than 15 reps to a set. The calves respond well to high reps, so unlike a lot of exercises, the more you can squeeze out per set, the better. Also important, and often overlooked, is toe position.
Toes pointed straight ahead – will hit the entire muscle
Toes pointed out – will hit the inner part of the muscle giving the calf a wider, fuller look.
Toes pointed in – this will hit the outer part of the muscle
OK, let’s give this a try – find your place based on experience and do as much as possible, with minimal rest between sets. You’ll get great pump in your calves and will know when it’s time to stop! Trust us on that one.
1. Standing Calf Raises – perform the rep with as heavy a dumbbell as you can, slowly on the way up, a pause at the top, then slow on the way down. Aim to get your heels as high as possible off the ground as the higher you can, the more you will work the entire muscle.
2. Seated Calf Raises – want the wide look? The seated calf waise helps both the inner and outer head of the calves, giving you that fullness. Go for as heavy as possible then once you’ve exhausted your calves, drop the weight down to a level you can push 50 out at.
3. One leg standing calf raise – the same as at step 1, except just hold one dumbbell and working one leg at a time. For left calf, hold the dumbbell in your left hand, with opposite for your right leg. And repeat. Again, try this with as heavy a weight as you can manage, but make sure the movement is as controlled, slow and has as much range of movement as possible.
4. Calf raises on the leg press – put just the balls of your foot on the feet plate and do as many as you can at a moderate weight level.
5. Got anything left? If so, do standing calf raises (50 on each leg) with no weight. That’s your finisher and guaranteed to start to make you feel a little unsteady on your feet : )
Give it a go – start slow and build up progressively in weight, reps, duration, number of exercises and number of sets. Let us know how you get on, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’re looking for something to help train that little bit harder, get yourself over to http://www.athletes-fuel.com and take a look at what we have in stock.
Thanks a lot, AF : )