Want Fantastic Legs? Improve Your Calves
What muscle group can easily lift well over 3 – 5 times your body weight in short bursts, and not fatigue when being used for durations surpassing a few hours? If you guessed calves, you’re right on the dot!
Calves are Powerful
Calves are amazingly powerful and versatile, yet compact and if trained can be very aesthetic. Let us begin with a quick look at the lower leg.
The calve consists of main 2 muscle groups:
1) Gastrocnemius – The pronounced curve when you tip toe
2) Soleus – Underneath the gastrocnemius and connects to the Achilles tendon.
3) Tibialis anterior – Not actually part of the calf, as it is situated next to the shin – it lifts the toes towards the knee when flexed. We will use this movement at the bottom portion of your calve raise. This movement will intensify the stretch the calve experiences.
So what do you do to that beautiful development? It is a good idea to understand that transforming a muscle group takes time and dedicated mindful training. These principles are based upon the athletes who have the most functional and beautiful calves, can you guess who they are?
Ballet dancers are known for their elegance, poise and rigorous training, in particular their calve training. They perform thousands upon thousands of body weight calve raises called alongside their plié squats. What we learn from this approach is a high degree of volume (repetitions) daily is very effective for stimulating calve development.
Do these exercises 3 times a week, working your way to daily training. Best part is you can do this sequence nearly anywhere!
Standing calve raise, find a stair case, use the railing for balance, balls for the feet place on the step, heels free to descend.
Remember, form is essential.
- 2 second concentric (lifting phase).
- 2 second isometric at the peak (Hold at the top and squeeze the calves).
- 3 second eccentric (steady & slow lowering phase).
- 2 second isometric (use the tibialis anterior – please see movement description above).
That’s a total of 9 seconds for 1 repetition.
Try 50 repetitions (7min duration) 3 times a week (Tues, Thur, Sat), then try get to 50 raises daily, and the work towards 100 daily and eventually 150 daily (1 000 calve raises a week).
You will see and feel the difference in a matter of 3 – 5 weeks, maintain that weekly volume or possibly increase it, and your calves will continue to mature.