Let’s talk about your calves for a bit – you know – those stubborn muscles exposed for the world to see. Whether you want a masculine calf muscles protruding out of your lower legs or a feminine well-carved good look in your high heels, everyone craves a set of nicely developed calves. What makes a calf muscle look spectacular is the smallness of the knee and ankle. So much for genetics! But does that mean the others can’t achieve great calves? So, why is it so hard to grow your calves then? Not only will we explain the reasons, but we will also provide the solution!
You may have noticed that the rest of your muscles progress at a much faster rate than your calves, which would lead you to stop training your lower legs altogether. The result is a disproportional figure. What we need to understand first is that this small area has over 1.2 million muscle fibers, while your biceps have about 40,000 muscle fibers. Now hope this put things into some perspective!
However, the good news is that training this small muscle group doesn’t have to be that difficult, especially when you know what you’ve been doing wrong, what to do instead, and what to avoid doing. With the proper training, even the skinniest calves can grow substantially. In order for your calves to grow, your calves need to be trained from every angle till you’re completely exhausted – just like the rest of your muscles. Also, you can add an extra calf day to your workout routine. When training your calves, aim for at least 20 reps or more instead of the usual 10 to 12. This will help stretch out your fascia tissues, a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping and binding together your muscles.
A mistake most people do is train their calves the same way every time. You cannot possibly expect different results doing the same stuff. Your muscles adapt to your training faster than you think. When you do standing calf exercises, the majority of the work is performed by the gastrocnemius muscles, which make up the inner and outer head of each calf. On the other hand, you have the soleus muscle, which runs directly under the gastrocnemius. These are trained when doing calf exercises with your knees bent. So, aim for an exercise routine that covers all the necessary muscles. So ensure to add both standing and seated movements to your training. By training all the muscles, you see more growth!
The amount of weight you apply to the muscle is very important too, and using too much weight is another common mistake. This results in getting tired too soon or using other muscles – like the quads – for help instead of focusing on your calves. This also puts a lot of pressure on your Achilles tendon, vertebrae, and knees. In other words, get your form right!
Once you’ve selected your right weight, make sure to exercise your calves with a full contraction and a full stretch. Instead of performing partial reps, push yourself to achieve that contraction at the top of each rep – that’s where the growth happens – and flex your muscle as hard as you can. Break your movement at the top and bottom to ensure complete muscle engagement. A short pause at either ends will do the job.