Learn How to Build Muscle

Basic Guideline for Calf Workout

Your calf muscles can be some of the toughest muscles to build - as many amateur and professional lifters will attest to. There is no doubt however, that a set of ripped calfs can make your leg look ripped and huge.

Adding great calfs to your legs can be tough, but luckily I have compiled a basic guideline for all those wishing to build bigger calf muscles. Read on to learn about some of the best calf building exercises and workouts!

Your calf is made up of two major muscles - the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius is the bundle of muscle you see right below your knee joint and the soleus is the muscle closest to your ankle joint. The reason why so many lifters find it hard to build calf muscles is because they are working in the wrong rep ranges to encourage growth.

The gastrocnemius consists of slow twitch muscle fibers, which means it responds best to heavy weight low repetition movements. The soleus however, is made up of fast twitch muscle fibers. These fibers respond best to low weight high repetition movements.

So you see, in order to get well-defined calfs you need to work in both rep ranges. It is generally recommended that if calfs are your weak spot you should work them out twice a week. Doing this ensures that you can work both the gastrocnemius and the soleus using their respective rep ranges.

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Because calfs are such a resistant muscle (you use them everyday), it is important to make them do things they don’t usually do during the day. There are only a few calf exercises, but fortunately they are perfect for blasting your calfs. The main exercises that you should be performing are the: standing calf raise, seated calf raise, reverse standing calf raise, and activities such as running or cycling.

The standing calf raise (both reverse stance and normal stance) is a great exercise for the calf because it allows you to lift a large amount of weight. Because of this, standing calf raises are great for working the gastrocnemius. Using a barbell, dumbbell, machine or EZ bar, stand on a platform that is about 1-2 inches off the ground. Place your feet about half way on the platform (or whatever feels comfortable to you), and slowly lower your ankles to the ground.

As you raise yourself, focus on contracting your calfs and really feeling a burn. This exercise can also be performed using only your bodyweight. Bodyweight calf raises are ideal for working the soleus - you are using a low amount of weight and can perform a great deal of repetitions.

The seated calf raise is an excellent exercises for those who have upper body injuries or those who can’t hold a weight. The seated calf raise allows you to load a high amount  of weight and still be in a safe position in case you cannot perform the rep. It is also known that running and cycling are great activities for your calf muscles. Try to work these into you workout program.

An effective calf workout should be both individualized and challenging. Make sure to experiment with different rep ranges and combinations of activities to get the most out of your workout. Remember that the tempo of the lift and well as the angle of your feet may also affect what areas of the calf you work. Following these simple guidelines will have you building monster calfs in no time!

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