How many of you have friends who workout legs but not their calves? Such an important muscle to workout and sometimes one of the hardest to grow. Follow these tips and more for better calves!
🔹The calves primarily consist of 3 muscles: the gastrocnemius, soleus, & tibialis anterior.
🔹The gastrocnemius is the largest muscle of the calves, & is primarily activated by standing or straight leg exercises. It primarily initiates fast twitch contractions, like jumping or running.
🔹The soleus is primarily activated by seated or bent knee leg exercises. It primarily initiates slow twitch contractions, like heavy lifting or balancing.
🔹The tibialis anterior is used to flex the foot upward. It is the muscle that is most likely sore when you feel shin splints, & is activated in exercises like incline hiking or running.
🔹Because the gastrocnemius is primarily activated when the knee is straight, & the soleus when the knee is bent, it’s important to incorporate both bent & straight leg exercises into a balanced calf routine.
🔹Some fast twitch calf exercises are sprinting, jump rope, or box jumps. Some of the best calf exercises for heavier weight are standing calf raises, seated calf raises, & leg press calf raises.
🔹There are many methods to train the calves, but no one way will work for everyone, since the size & types of muscle fibers varies per individual.
🔹Proper form & range of motion is really important when it comes to any exercise, especially calves. Lower the heel enough that you feel the stretch, and come up as high on your toes as possible at the top, pausing for a slight second (don’t bounce!). Distribute more weight into the big toe at the top of the exercise- don’t keep all the pressure in the pinky toe side.
🔹If your goal is to enlarge your calves, they should be isolated 2-3x/week with rest in between. Make sure you stretch them! The more flexible calves are the stronger they can become.
🔹Genetics play a large factor in calf size & development, but with consistent work, nutrition, & finding the right calf routine for you, it is possible to build the calf muscles.
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