Build Muscular Calves with These Great Calf Exercise Tips

For those of you who wish to avoid the whole chicken leg syndrome and the rest of you who already have this problem, I present Calves 101!

I find so often that men just don't train legs, and if they do its Squats and Deadlifts. Don't get me wrong, I know these are foundation exercises which help with calves and other areas but in order to really work them you need to do calve specific training.

Women who feel their legs are 'muscular enough' are usually calling muscle what is actually fat. They are afraid for their legs to get bigger yet not accounting for the fact that if they are working on fat loss, their legs will also get smaller and if there is no muscle under there, they too will get chicken legs!

Mesomorphs tend to be better enhanced with muscle due to genetics, while others who do certain activities such as tennis and cycling will have larger muscle mass in the calves from years of slightly weighted repetition other than walking.

For beginners you can hit the calves once per week but ideally you want to aim for twice per week with a few days between. Target that lower leg with 2-5 sets of 8-30. Lower end figures suit the muscle builders. Working toward the higher ends with weight will bring you to a plateau, and then you would go with lower end again and use more weight, progressing this way over time.

There are many non specific exercise machines which will do for calve work such as the leg presses (seated, horizontal and inverted) and hack squat machine. You can also do them manually by holding dumbbells or with a barbell on your shoulders. Donkey raises are done bent over on a table or stable surface with someone seated on your lower back. It's easier than is sounds and you can go up in weight easily. It is also safer than it sounds as well. Standing Calve machines are great and aside from the plates you can load weight on some models taking your ability to use heavy weight to new levels, albeit hard on the shoulders and neck. Seated calve raise machines are great but can be hard on the thighs once you get into several plates loaded.

Feel out your options and choose 3, then change them every month on average. I also like to change the angle of my footing from toes out during one set, to toes in on the next set then straight as these hits all around the calves. Another variation is to change speed of reps, some days doing faster reps called pulses and other days working super slow for a 10 second count to complete each rep.

Do not bounce on the movement and if you can, try to do them on an elevated area like a step so that you can drop the heels for full motion. If your balance is not great, keep by a wall for your calve raises and do one leg at a time holding the weight on the side being worked while the other leg is up and the arm on that side holds the wall for stability.

By Linda Cusmano

 

 

 

 

 



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