Learn How to Build Muscle
 

Build Muscle In Your Calves

Often, many advanced and elite lifters find it hard to build muscle in their calves. Fortunately there are a few tips and tricks to build your calves more efficiently than you probably do now.

In this article I will discuss a few of these tips and give you a great sample workout designed to get your calves ripped in no time.

First, to effectively work your calve muscle you should probably learn the anatomy of the area. As you may have heard, the more you know about your body the better you are able to target your muscles and encourage muscle growth.

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 man lifters find it hard to build their 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.

There are only a few calf exercises for strength and balance, 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. Try this sample calf workout to really blast them:

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Warm Up: 5-10 minutes cycling or running

Seated Calf Raise: 4-5 sets x 10-12 reps

Standing Barbell Calf Raise: 4-5 sets x 8-10 reps

Bodyweight Calf Raises: 2-3 sets x failure (try to get over 30 reps)

Standing Machine Calf Raise: 2-3 sets x 8-10 reps

The standing calf raise 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. Play around with different rep ranges and combinations of exercises until you find what works for you. With a little time and effort, you should see bigger calves in just a few sessions!

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