Got puny calves? Take these pro-tips to build MASSIVE CALVES

In commercial gyms, we often see a surplus of guys with massive upper bodies and big arms. Some may even be very impressive with their strength numbers; pushing very heavy weights. But most often than not, guys are not proportionate as a whole. With this, I mean the CALVES. Disproportion is not what we are going for in the gym. 

Some guys may have figured out the upper leg area – meaning the thigh and hamstrings area but the calves are just a mystery of their own. So what is the key to building big calves? What must we do for men to never have chicken legs again? This article will give you pro-tips to light your way towards big calf muscles. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on how to build big calves. 

Ensure you have complete range-of-motion 

Let’s take an example for this tip: standing calf raises (on a smith machine or a cable one). The average Joe will get on there select some weight and begin the movement. He will drop his heels LEVEL with the platform and raise his heels just slightly above the platform – this is heavily limiting his range-of-motion. 

Pro-tip: don’t do that. Let’s start with selecting the weight. It is highly recommended that you pick a weight that you can BOTH control lifting it and lowering it. This is usually less than what you think you can do. When you control the lifting and lowering of the weight, it keeps the tension constant in the muscle. This is exactly what we need for building muscle. When you begin “shooting” the weight upwards (with the concentric phase) it takes the tension off (by a bit). Thus, it is very important to lift it with control, and lower it with control. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on full range-of-motion  with calf training. 

Do not jump the weight

Mentioned in the last point of the previous tip, do not “shoot” the weight. You often see gym-goers almost explosively jump through the concentric portion of the exercise. While you may build muscle with jumping movements, it does not concern any weighted exercises. Exercises, such as box jumps or skipping does build muscle but we will get to that later. 

The key here is to keep a controlled tempo throughout the entire movement. This holds the tension constant throughout the set you are doing. The longer you can hold the tension, the better you are able to build the muscle. After all, building muscle is all about time under tension. 

Mix up your calf training 

As mentioned above, you are able to build muscle in the lower leg with jumping. Exercises such as box jumps or skipping are staple in this matter. The key reason why we have variations is because different people adapt to different stimulus during training. Some may only adapt to slow movements; some may only adapt to explosive movements; and some are able to adapt to both. But you don’t know until you try both. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on different variations of calf exercises. 

One reason why jumping exercises can work well is because they offer a rapid stretch in the calf. In other words, the calf is quickly shortened then lengthened again. This causes trauma in the muscle that will cause it to breakdown then build-up again. And this helps you build muscle in the calf. 

You will definitely need more repetitions

Why do we need more repetitions? How is this different from training biceps? The calf muscle is mainly composed of slow-twitch muscle. This means they take way longer to fatigue. Because of this reason we need to take longer to training it and cause it to build up again. Again, this goes back to time-under-tension. With this slow-twitch muscle, we needed even a longer time-under-tension. 

Usually with calf training, I would recommend 15 to 25 repetitions. This ensures the time-under-tension to be at least 45 seconds to one minute. Keep in mind, it is a CONTROLLED raising and lowering of the weight. Otherwise it won’t matter how long your time-under-tension is – you’re not even doing the movement properly. 

Until next time, 

Coach Marco 

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