CALF WORKOUTS

Calf muscles located on the back of the lower leg and it has visible muscles which is outer muscles and other not visible which is under the outer muscles and it also moves while exercising, but the main muscles you need to know which are the visible ones, here they are,

  • Gastrocnemius: This muscle it is a visible muscle doesn’t lie underneath any other muscle and it attaches to the heel muscle ”Achilles tendon” from behind the knee, and it has two heads (medial and lateral) heads.
  • Achilles tendons: It is located lower back of the leg just above the heel which connects the Gastroncnemius and soleus muscles and the calcaneus (heel bone).
  • Soleus: located lower back leg It is connected from just below the knee to heel.

There are millions of people complain about calves growth, some say its genetics, and others say because of all day long you are using calves that is why it is hard to grow, and because it grows very hard some poeple they don’t train seriously or they don’t give much attention, but actually this stubborn muscle group can grow even if it is very skinny, if you don’t do this common mistakes.

People don’t train their calves with the same intensity and energy as you train any other muscle on your body, even if you are training the beginning or the end of your exercises you should train as hard as you train same as the first muscle you started to train on that day.

At least you should train two to three days a week leaving one day rest between each day, and you should do at least 20 reps per set, but I always aim to hit 25 to 30 reps per set with a little lightweight to perform full range of motion which is very important to feel the full stretch at the buttom of the move, then bring up as high as possible until you reach your tippy-toes to make the full contraction and feel the burn.

Don’t use too much weight if you can not do full range of motion, you will hurt your arch of your foot and Achilles tendons or knees if you are doing wrong moves such as, bouncing at the bottom of each rep or using your knee while doing standing calves raises or when your ankle goes out of line, if you will try to do this just to do heavyweight, you are wasting your time, just take your time on each rep with slow gentle movements to do full stretch and contraction for the best result.

Some people will point the toes in and out to focus the inner or outer calf muscle, it is true that if you angle your foot slightly (an inch) you will target various angle of the calf muscle, but not an extreme angle because it will put stress on your ligament and connective tissues in your ankles and knees, even if you don’t angle your toes and keep them straight it will train your inner and outer calf heads equally, so no need to make more complicated.

So here are the best calf workouts you can do to grow them up.

1- Standing calf raises

Adjust the pad according to your hight and position your shoulders under the pad, and ball foot and toes on the calf block facing forward or angled (if you want to focur inner or outer muscle) your heels should be extended out, and a slight bend on you knees, then push the lever up by extending your hips until your full body straight, this is your starting position.

Raise your heels up by pushing your ankle as high as possible until you feel the contraction in your calf muscle without bending your back and knees, then go back to starting position and lowering your heels further down by extending your ankles until you feel full stretch, and then repeat recommended reps.

2- Smith machine calf raise

Place a block or a plate under the smith machine bar and set the bar to level of the bar to your hight, step up on the block and place your ball foot on the block with toes facing forward and heels extended out, and position the bar over your shoulders just under the neck, unrack the bar and push your body up by extending your hips s your full body will be straight, this is your starting position.

Raise your heels up by pushing your ankle as high as possible until you feel the contraction in your calf muscle without bending your back and knees, then go back to starting position and lowering your heels further down by extending your ankles until you feel full stretch, and then repeat recommended reps.

3- Standing barbell calf raise

This exercise must be done on a squat rack for safety, set the bar to a level appropriate to your hight, step under the barbell over your shoulders just under your neck, hold the bar using both arms and lift off the rack and step away from the rack, then step over a box or a plate carefully keeping your body and knees straight, place your ball foot on the box with toes facing forward and heels extended out, legs slightly apart from each other, this is your starting position.

Raise your heels up by pushing your ankle as high as possible until you feel the contraction in your calf muscle without bending your back and knees, then go back to starting position and lowering your heels further down by extending your ankles until you feel full stretch, and then repeat recommended reps.

Another variation: You can perform this exercise without using a box or a plate, just on the floor, but you can not lower your heels down.

Caution: This exercise is not recommended for people who have back problems.

4- Standing dumbbell calf raise

Hold dumbbells on each hands arms extended down, and stand on a box or a plate on the floor with placing your ball of the foot on it and heels extending out, keeping your body and knees straight, this is your starting position.

Raise your heels up by pushing your ankle as high as possible until you feel the contraction in your calf muscle without bending your back and knees, then go back to starting position and lowering your heels further down by extending your ankles until you feel full stretch, and then repeat recommended reps.

5- Seated calf raise (soleus muscles)

sit on the machine and Adjust the upper pad according to your thigh hight, place your toes with your perefered angle on the lower platform with heels extended out, and place your lower thighs under the upper pad and hold the upper handles and the lever, push with your heels up in order to release the safety lever and keep your toes facing forward, this is your starting position.

Lower your heels down by bending your ankles as much as possible until your feel full stretch on your calf muscles, then raise your heels up as high as possible until you fell full contraction, and repeat.

6- Calf press on the leg press machine

Sit on the leg press machine and place your toes and balls of your feet at the bottom of the platform in front of you with a medium stance and heels extended out (choose the angle of your toes according to the target muscle) , release the safety lock lever and push the pad up with your legs without locking your knees completely so that your torso and legs make 90 degree, this is your starting position, (Note: some machines you can push the platform up without releasing the safety bar, you can leave the safety bar in place for more safety)

As you breathe out raise the platform up by pressing with your ankles as high as possible until you feel full contraction in your muscle, then as your breathe in go back to starting position and continue lowering your heels down with bending your ankles until you feel full stretch, you should keep your knees stationary as you perform the exercise.

Caution: You should be carefull not to slip your feet from the platform.

Another variation: You can perform this exercise on leg at a time

7- Donkey calf raises

You position your lower back and hips under the padded lever of the donkey raise machine, tailbone area should be in contact with the pad, place your ball foot and toes on the calf block heels extended out, legs medium stance and direct your toes angle according to your target muscle, and straighten your legs without locking your knees, and place your both arms on the handles in fornt of you, your upper body and legs should form 90 degree angle, this is your starting position.

As you breathe out bend your heels up by bending your ankles as high as possible until you feel full contraction in your calf muscle, then go back to starting position, and continue lowering your heels down as much as possible by bending your ankles until you feel full stretch in your muscles as you breathe in. Your knees should stay stationary at all time.

Another variation: If your don’t have the machine available in your gym, you can place a plate on the floor and place your ball foot and toes on it and support your hands on a bench in front of you, and have a partner to sit on your lower back as a resistance.

8- Calf press

You need to have calf press machine for this exercise, sit on the machine and adjust the hight so that your knees are slightly bent, and place your ball foot and toes down on the platform, select the weight and hold the handles, this is your starting position.

Lift the weight from the stack by extending your knees , your calfs should be fully flexed and your toes pointing up, then start pushing the weight by moving your heels up and bending your ankles as high as possible and pause, then go back to fully flexed position and repeat the recommended reps.

9- Barbell seated calf raise

Place a box at on the floor at your ankle level in front of a flat bench, sit on the bench and place your ball foot and toes on the first end of the box heels extended out (choose the angle of your toes according to your target muscle), and have partner to position a barbell on your upper thighs just above your knees, and hold with your both hands to prevent from rolling, this is your starting position.

Raise your heels up by pushing your ankle as high as possible until you feel the contraction in your calf muscle without bending your back and knees, then go back to starting position and lowering your heels further down by extending your ankles until you feel full stretch, and then repeat recommended reps.

Another variation:

  • You can perform this exercise with using dumbbells and placing on each thigh.
  • You can perform this exercise using the smith machine
(pictures coming soon)

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