Bodybuilders have always complained that the calf muscles are the hardest to build. I am sure you have seen many big guys in the gym with incredibly out of proportion small calf muscle.
Building big strong calf muscles not only will make you lower body more pleasing to the eye, it will also help tremendously in your sports and games giving you more power in your sprints and jumps. You calf muscles along with your quadriceps will also help to support your knee joints, reducing wear and tear.
The great Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, "Everyday you walk around. When you walk you are using your calves. You are pushing at least your body weight every time you take a step. So, when you go to the gym and work out your calves with light weight, are you really stressing your muscles?"
Think about it. Whenever you walk, jump or run, your calf muscles are pushing at least your body weight. That will mean that in order to build your calf muscles, you will have to lift heavy. Real heavy. So the kids gloves are off when you want to build a strong beautiful diamond shaped calves.
The major muscles on your calves are the soleus and the gastrocnemius muscles. The soleus muscles are the wide and flat muscle located on the tibia and the fibula. The gastrocnemius muscles are the large muscles located near the middle and goes to the top of the fibula and tibia.
The gastrocnemius muscle is made up of the medial head (inner calve) and the lateral head (outer calve) muscles.
So what are good calf muscles exercises? Here are 2 of the more common calf muscle exercises.
DONKEY CALF RAISES
One of Arnold’s favorite calf muscle exercises is the Donkey Raise. He has 2 gym buddies sitting on his back whenever he does this exercise and you can imagine how big and heavy Arnold’s gym buddies are.
Just bend over and support yourself on a bench, have your gym buddy, the heavier the better to sit on your back as if you are a donkey, then raise your heels off the floor, and pause at the top and squeeze hard for full muscle contraction, then return to your original position by lowering your heels almost touching the floor. That will be one rep. If your buddy is not heavy enough, he may carry some weight plates when sitting on your back.
If you do not have gym buddies to help you, there are donkey raise machines which you can use to build your calf muscles.
SEATED CALF RAISES
This exercise is commonly preformed using a machine where you sit, and a padded section is placed above your knees.
If your gym do not have seated calf raises machines, you can still perform this exercise by sitting on a bench and putting a weighted barbell on your thighs, then raise your heels off the floor, and pause at the top and squeeze hard for full muscle contraction, then return to the original position with the heels almost touching the floor. That will be one rep. If the barbell hurt your thighs, put a towel as a cushion on your thighs.
Now remember to use heavy weights. How many sets and reps? Well, those of you who are familiar with my training methods will know that I do not believe in a pre determined number of reps. Just perform the exercises until you just cannot lift any more even if I were to holler at you. That will be one set. As for number of sets, depending on your time and your split routine for the day, do 3-6 sets of calf muscle fatigued reps.
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Chris Chew is a personal trainer of actors, fashion models and male pageant winners.
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