There are many bodybuilders out there who have that superhero, V-taper look when it comes to their upper body. However, when you take a closer look at their lower body, namely their legs and especially the calves, the asymmetry in their body can be outright hilarious. Having tiny legs can severely affect some people and they can become the butt of many jokes and get harassed because of their look.
Don’t think that wearing track pants when going to the gym will protect you from being laughed at. On the contrary, you should face your problem, as it isn’t going anywhere soon. When someone makes a joke about your chicken legs, use that as a fuel to train even harder and more intense to fix the problem as soon as possible. Even the worst insults can serve as the best motivation to overcome your shortcomings and every once in a while you might even get a good advice from someone who’s had the same problem before. In this article, we’ll present you one simple tip to quickly build your calves and get them up to par with your upper body.
Why do you have calves that are weaker than the rest of your body?
Repeating the same mistakes and expecting to get a different result.
The calf muscle is comprised of 3 parts: gastrocnemius lateralis, gastrocnemius medialis and soleus. The soleus is essential for jumping and you can target it by doing seated calf raises. The best movement for the gastrocnemius, the main foot plantar flexor is the standing calf raise. The thing that both of these movements share is that they involve lifting on your toes. Have you ever seen yourself exercising your calves in the mirror? If you did, you must have noticed that they get the greatest activation when you do the exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
You engage your calves almost all day when you walk, climb stairs or run. This means that a regular workout of 4-5 sets is simply not enough to stimulate them sufficiently. You need to do something at least 10 times harder to really hit them hard. To do this you need to target them from different angles and a different training approach to achieve new tissue growth. Lots of bodybuilders do compound movements before doing isolation work, and this is one of the key reasons why their calves won’t grow. Muscle can grow a lot faster when it’s not exhausted.
Your calves are equally important as your other muscles and deserve your attention
You need to go to failure often and change the intensity of the calf movements you use regularly.
If you fail to push yourself hard and train to your limits, you can’t expect to grow. You must not neglect the calves, you need to put as much attention to them as you do for other muscle groups.
Give the calves the same training priority as for your chest and biceps.
If you do 10 sets for your biceps, do 10 for your calves, as well. You were already neglecting them for many years, which means you have to make up for the lost time.
Many people aren’t even using full range of motion when doing calf movements.
Lift on your toes as much as you can bare to achieve maximum effect. If you’re a complete beginner, you can start out with an aerobic stepper or you can use a standing calf machine to maximize the intensity.
The workout (at last!)
To do this workout you don’t need a lot of space, if any at all. Every day, you lift the toes so many times without even noticing. This is something even a person who’s never trained in his or her life can do. The thing is that despite what many fitness magazines and Internet gurus might tell you, you don’t actually need fancy equipment or some special program to make your calves grow. All you need is just one set of standing calf raises, 100 reps without rest.
Slowly lift yourself on your toes and squeeze your heels when you reach the top position. Relax the heels and bring them back slowly to the starting position. Do this routine for a whole month, every night before you go to sleep.
Common calf training mistakes and tips:
- Exhale when you get to the top position, and inhale when you go down.
- You need to transfer the load on the big toe, not on the smaller ones.
- Don’t drop down fast, you might hurt the heels and you won’t get the maximum effect of the movement.
- Don’t lean on the wall or hold it, it minimizes the training effect.
- When your body slowly becomes used to the exercises and the calves aren’t as sore as they used to be, add 15 or 20 reps to the set.
- Go to bed immediately after finishing the workout.
- Put any kind of material underneath the feet if the exercise makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Keep the head and spine rigid, don’t move it in any direction.
- Keep the arms beside your body, and only use them if you need to maintain your balance.
Building huge calves does not look so out of reach now, doesn’t it? Even if you’re one of those super-strong tough guys with a perfect upper body physique, you should never neglect your calves and expose yourself to ridicule. One of the legendary Jay Cutler’s greatness tips is that you should learn from your rivals. The best way to beat them is not letting them find out what your weak spot is. And another thing for aspiring pro-bodybuilders! The referees look at the calves, the forearms and even muscles you didn’t know exist. Be persistent and you’ll quickly get monstrous calves.