will know that it is not always easy. It takes time and effort to train your calves for muscle development. You need to select the right exercises, and do the right amount of reps and set to grow your calves. This article will explain how.
Jumping Right In – The Best Exercises for Growing Your Cavalry
EXERCISE 1 STANDING CALF RAIS
For more flexibility, stand on the floor with your toes facing straight ahead or on the ball of your foot on a raised surface. Feet should be hip-width apart, with toes facing forward.
Raise your heels until you are standing on your toes. Hold the squeezed calves for 1-2 second at the top and then slowly lower down.
Lower your heels to the step surface if you want a wider range of motion.
Increase intensity by adding weight. You can do this by wearing a vest with weights, holding dumbbells, or kettlebells. Weekly, increase the weight by 5-10% (starting with adding 5-10% to your body weight).
EXERCISE 2 LEG PRESS CALF RISE
Face straight ahead and with your feet hip-width apart on the platform. Hang your heels from the bottom edge of the machine so that your soles are the only part of your foot on the platform.
Lower the platform towards your body while health out the platform (your toes should come back towards your shins). You can go as far as you are able to with your ankles.
The platform will move away from you if you press through your balls of feet.
Continue to maintain good posture and form.
EXERCISE 3 SINGLE LEGG CALF RAISE
For more flexibility, stand on one foot or place the ball of the foot on an elevated surface. Toes facing straight forward.
As you stand up, raise your heel. Hold the squeezed calves for 1-2 second at the top and then slowly lower down.
Lower your heel to the surface of a step for more range of motion.
Increase intensity by adding weight. You can do this by wearing a vest with weights, holding dumbbells, or kettlebells. Weekly, increase the weight by 5- 10% (starting with adding 5-10% to your body weight).
EXERCISE # 4 SEATED CALF RAIS
Sit comfortably on a bench or seated calf-raise machine with your knees at 90 degree angles. Feet should be hip-width apart, with toes facing forward.
As you raise your heels, make sure that you are on your toes. Hold the squeezed calves for 1-2 second at the top before lowering slowly.
Lower your heels to the ground if you are on a machine with this feature, or if you have placed your toes up on something raised, like a pile of plates. This will give you a greater range of motion.
Increase intensity by adding weight. You can do this either by adding weight on the machine or holding a weighted object in your lap. Weekly, increase the weight by 5-10% (starting with 5-10% your body weight).
Exercises that are plyometric, such as lunge jumps or jump ropes, can improve muscle definition and calf strength.
Exercise #5 lunge jumps
Start with your arms retracted in a lunge.
As you explode up, point your toes and lift yourself off the ground.
Keep your feet, knees and hips pointing straight ahead.
Exercise #6 Jump Rope
Keep your knees slightly bent and do small, controlled jumps. Jump rope on your toes. You can start with intervals of 10-30 seconds for three sets, and then build up from there. As you progress, you can try jumping with one foot.
Why are calves so hard to grow?
Most people complain that they can’t see any results from training this muscle group. Although the calves can grow like any other muscle, their strength is due to walking every day. You may not be seeing the results you desire.
Too little training. You won’t get enough muscle growth if you only do a few sets per week. You’ll need to perform 6-12 reps (depending on your load) in 4-5 sets at least twice a week for hypertrophy.
You are not using the full range of motion. Your foot can dorsiflex up to 20° and plantarflex up to 50° at the ankle. The calf muscles are used most effectively when you move your ankle in its full range. You may see more benefit if you try calf raises off a step.
Use the same exercise and reps/sets. Our bodies are adaptability machines! Your calves will eventually get used to the routine you are doing and require an adjustment to the weight, reps and/or sets.
Workout Frequency for Killer Cavals
It is recommended to train your calves twice a week at least (Schoenfeld et al. al. 2016). Choose 2-3 calf exercises per session for best results. For muscular hypertrophy, the acute variables are 6-12+ repetitions for 4-5 sets.
You may get better results by using a larger rep range for the calves. This will increase the time spent under tension, and allow you to maximize the range of motion.
CALF ANATOMY DESCRIBED
When it comes to building calf muscle, the gastrocnemius is the most prominent player.
Gastrocnemius – The bulkier part of the gastrocnemius can be seen when examining the calves. The medial head is located on the medial femur condyle (the inner part of thighbone) and the side head is located on the lateral femur condyle (outside of thighbone). The Achilles tendon inserts it at the posterior heel calcaneus. The health is involved in knee and plantar flexion.
Soleus: This flat, long muscle originates from the posterior superior tibia and the fibula of the lower leg. It merges with the Gastrocnemius and inserts at the posterior calcaneus or the back of the heel via the Achilles’ tendon. The soleus is responsible for both plantar flexion as well as stabilizing the foot/ankle.
WILL STRONGER CALVES HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER ATHELETE?
Yes! You might think about the following when you think of athletic movements: running, jumping and cutting. These movements require the calves to be able to push off their feet in order to propel themselves in a certain direction.
The stronger your calves, the more force you can exert during these movements. Strong calves can protect the ankle/foot complex and improve an athlete’s ability to perform these movements. If you want to achieve explosive power in athletics, power training is necessary, and not hypertrophy, which is purely aimed at increasing muscle mass.
Can you grow calves with only bodyweight exercises?
Start by training with your bodyweight, and then add the full range motion to your calf exercises. You may see some initial results from this alone, but to maintain results you’ll need to keep adjusting the acute variables.