If you are serious about bodybuilding, you know that the calves muscles are hard to work, and it’s even harder to get bigger calves.
Therefore, building their mass and definition takes a lot of hard work and dedication. In other words, calves are usually very stubborn and if you don’t give them special attention and a good workout, chances are they won’t grow – not to mention that many workout routines neglect them completely. On top of that, their size and shape are genetically predetermined to a larger degree than other muscles.
You don’t need to spend forever training your calves—15 minutes or so three to five days a week should suffice, provided you’re lifting with focus and a purpose during that time.
The one thing that should always be on your mind is range of motion. Half reps of calves are a waste of time, so go light at first if you need to. Just make sure you feel a stretch at the bottom of each rep; and at the top, get those heels up high so that you’re up on your tippy-toes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that he tried to reach the en pointe position of a ballerina on each and every rep of calf raises. It’s a painful position, being up that high on your toes, but that’s what you should be trying to achieve.
So if you want to get them to develop, you’ll have to taste some pain through intense calf training at least three times a week – targeting both of the muscles that make up the calf, i.e. the gastrocnemius and the soleus.
Take a look at these 3 exercises designed for getting an insane calf definition and mass:
1. Standing Machine calf raise
This fundamental exercise is the basis for great calf development. Since it’s done with a straight leg, it primarily targets the gastrocnemius, putting tension on both the lateral and medial heads of the muscle and giving them thickness and definition.
2. Leg press calf raise
This machine exercise allows you to position your feet in different ways and therefore isolate the different muscles. It’s very important to make sure that the amount of weight and the positioning of the heel allows you to move through a complete range of flexion which is needed for optimal results. Only a full range of motion will lead to full development. Also, keep a slight bend in your knees.
3. Seated calf raise
Calf raises are a classic among calf-strengthening exercises. Both standing and seated calf raises train the gastrocnemius and the soleus at the same time, but the seated calf raise places most of the work on your soleus because it’s performed with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle.
The soleus is much smaller but lies below the gastrocnemius, so strengthening it will make your gastrocnemius pop out more. If you want to add some serious volume to your calves, you’ll need to train your soleus as much as the gastrocnemius.
So there you have it! Go on, go and hit those stubborn calves!