The calf muscles are a set of muscles often overlooked as the primary focus is placed on larger lower body muscles like the quads or hamstrings. While these are the muscles you should focus on; this should not be to the neglect of your calf muscles. Having muscular calves will give you the foundation on which all other movements are done and will ensure you are not as at-risk for ankle injuries. Proper calf training is a must. Many people either ditch calf training altogether or just are not performing calf training as they should.
Here are a few quick tips you should remember next time you prepare yourself to do calf work…
Half Reps Are An Excellent Idea. If you want to really up the ante of your calf training program, consider adding a few half reps into the mix. Half reps, where you move only through the top half of the range of motion, or if you are brave, the lower half, places enormous strain on your calf muscle because there is no point of relaxation in this rep range.
Usually, the best way to employ this technique is to perform ten full reps of your calf exercise and then move into ten reps or so of the half reps. Then, if you are not thoroughly exhausted, you can do another full ten reps to finish the muscles off.
Full Range Of Motion Is A Must. Next, make sure you are moving through the full range of motion: this means you are going beyond parallel. Many people do standing calf raises off the floor. While this is good to a degree, it will be far better if you let your feet drop below parallel: this gives you a much more significant stretch at the bottom of the exercise, which then translates to superior strength progression.
Try doing those calf raises off a step and see the difference that makes.
Take Balance Out Of The Exercise. You might think doing single leg calf raises while trying to balance is a great way to get more from this exercise. And, if your goal is stability or core strength, then it very well may be. But, if your goal is to build stronger calves, avoid doing single leg unsupported work.
The problem with single leg unsupported work is more of your energy is going into just balancing, which may mean you do not have the strength capability to lift the weight you want. Furthermore, if you are placing quite a load on your back as you do this, the chances of rolling your ankle and severely injuring yourself are also higher.
It is okay to do single leg work, but do it supported instead.
Do Seated And Standing Work. Finally, to hit your calves from all angles, consider doing seated and standing work. Each type of exercise is going to work the muscles from different angles and hit the soleus and gastroc muscle differently. Therefore, both should be in your plan.
If you apply these calf training tips, there is no question you will be seeing superior results and noticing this muscle take on a great shape in no time.