Calves, like the deltoids and abdominals,
are a very aesthetic body part. A good pair of calves look good on the
beach or tennis court as well as onstage. But more that that,
outstanding calf development has historically been associated with the
ideal male physique. Huge deltoids, washboard abs, and powerful calves
were the qualities the Greek sculptors fashioned in their classical
images of warriors and athletes.
Ideally, your calf development should about equal the development of
your biceps. If your calves are smaller than your arms, then you need to
give them extra attention. Calves are considered the most
difficult muscle group in the body to develop. But calves muscles
respond to training just like any other muscle - you just have to be
aware that they need to be trained at many different angles and with
extremely heavy weight.
Think about what happens when you walk
and run: You turn your foot and ankle first one way, then the other; you
push off, stop suddenly, turn and change direction, you climb upward,
walk downhill. And with each different movement you make, the calf
muscles bear your weight, raising you up on your toes, lowering you down
onto your heels, helping you twist your feet in different directions.
The primary mass builder for calves is
Standing Calf Raises, and here extra weight is really important.
Standing Calf Raises exercise, along with Donkey Calf Raises, works both
the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calf. Seated Calf Raises
better target the soleus.
Many bodybuilders do their calf
training as an afterthought. Before or after their regular workout they
give them 10 minutes or so, far less than they would for any other body
part. And the they complain when their calves do not respond.
You should treat the calves just like
every other body part. Since the calves are designed for constant work
and rapid recuperation. Use a wide variety of calf exercises; not
just some sets of Standing and Seated Calf Raises, but enough movements
to work every area of the calf muscles - upper and lower, inside and
The calves are tough and used to a lot
of hard work, so the best way to make them grow is to constantly shock
them, using every high-intensity training principle possible. For
example, when doing Donkey Calf Raises, Arnold Schwarzenegger frequently
started off with three 220-pound bodybuilders sitting on his back. He
would continue the set until he could not do another rep, then have one
of them slide off so that he could continue until his calves were
screaming in agony. Finally, Arnold would finish off the set using only
his own body weight and feeling as if his calves were going to explode.
Another shock method to develop calves
muscles involves doing partial reps. About one out of four of calf
workouts involved doing half and quarter movements with extremely heavy
weights, which put an enormous demand on the calf muscles. The more you
shock the calves, the more you subject them to unexpected stimulation,
the more calf development you will see as a result.
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