Do you want bigger calf muscles? Are you one of those individuals who has been genetically short-changed when it comes to the muscles between your knees and ankles? Are you a natural bodybuilder? Perfect; this article’s for you.
First off, you couldn’t be starting worse than I was. Before I got the calf building situation worked out, I had something resembling “pipes” for lower legs. They were often the centerpiece of laughter. I could have sworn they’d been dealt to the wrong guy. They seemed out of place on my body – like they should have been the calves of someone with smaller… well – everything; a smaller body. I was desperate.
Unfortunately, my first attempts at building calves were futile. I did everything I’d been told; higher frequency of training, lots of sets, hitting them from different angles – you name it. Did I get a “pump”? You bet. But so what; calves that resemble sticks don’t improve much in appearance even when engorged with blood 토토사이트 추천.
Now my calves are just shy of 16 inches. That’s not huge by any stretch, but it’s great when you consider where they came from and that I’ve remained a natural bodybuilder. And they’re lean at that size; carrying very little fat and showing a bad-ass looking vein when I get my body fat a few percentage points lower. They actually look nice in a pair of shorts now; with shape, strength and athleticism.
What’s my ‘how to build big calves’ recommendation in a nutshell? In a word: ‘burn-reps’, and lots of them. You’ve got to make those muscles behind your shins feel like they might set off the gym fire alarm ‘coz of the flames and smoke coming out of them. You need to hit them with an intensity that has the tissue saying “Gee Toto… I don’t think we’re In Kansas anymore.” (“Kansas” in this case would be all the walking, running and standing they’re used to doing)
Besides high intensity, my second piece of advice is ‘low workout frequency’. You need to make sure the muscles are fully recuperated between workouts in order for augmentation to occur. Many people mistakenly believe that calves need to be worked more often than other muscles. They do need to be trained differently – but why more often? Muscles are only growing while resting between workouts. We tear them down during the training sessions. So unless someone can produce evidence that calf tissue recuperates faster than other muscle tissue, there’s no logical reason for them to be trained more often. They just need to be hit with more intensity. Training them too often can result in overtraining – with lost time and gains being the sad result.
A calf raise is a calf raise (except ‘seated’)
Did you know that standing calf raises and donkey calf raises both hit the same part of the calf muscles? Yes, we’ve been led to believe when we go from one of these gym machines to the other; we’re somehow hitting our calves differently. Yet they both put about equal stress on both the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemus muscle (that’s the meaty part of the calf). ‘Seated calf raises’, by contrast, target the soleus muscle which is located just below the gastrocnemus.
The calf muscles are composed of a few fast-twitch muscle fibers and a lot of slow-twitch fibers. That means they require some heavy low rep sets (for the fast twitch fibers) and a good amount of high rep sets (for the slow twitch fibers).I do about six sets of eight repetitions using a full range of motion on a donkey calf raise machine to hit the fast twitch fibers. I prefer donkey calf raises over standing calf raises because they seem to provide a fuller range of motion and don’t put strain on the lower back.
“Burn” them with Partial Reps
When the full range of motion at the six to eight rep range has taken my calves to a fatigued state, I immediately go into a very high rep set of partial-range-of-motion reps. These are called ‘burn reps’ for good reason. The discomfort they may cause can be a great measurement of one’s grit level. It’s easy to use the same weight for these because of the reduced range of motion. I take this partial rep set well into the hundreds (the reps are fast) and keep shooting to break my previous repetitions until it’s sensible to increase the weight instead of the reps.
In doing these high reps, partial-range-of-motion sets, it’s important to work in both the bottom half of the range of a full calf raise and the top half. I do around three to four total burn reps sets.
I then go on to seated calf raises to hit the soleus section. Again, after doing sets of six to eight reps, I go straight in to some burn reps on this exercise. However, I only do one or two sets of burn reps on this exercise because my calves are pretty well spent by that time.
With this kind of workout, the calves need not be trained any more often than other muscle groups. They simply need the high repetitions and high intensity of partial reps for stimulation. However, it’s plenty of recuperation between workouts that causes growth. Make sure you feel that warm feeling of relaxed expansion in the tissue before you even think about the next calf workout.
It’s worth mentioning that this workout strategy is a far cry from what should be used for all other muscle groups. At least, that is – if you’re a natural bodybuilder and you want to make impressive muscle gains.
This type of calf workout has taken my seemingly hopeless “pipes” and expanded them to resemble “diamonds”. If you’re looking for a way to get more of that diamond shape yourself, I highly recommend it.