Set Your Calves on Fire with This Workout
Calves can be one of the most stubborn muscle groups. Most people treat their calves as accessory muscles and throw in a couple of exercises to train them at the end of their workouts. It’s going to take much more if you want to turn your calves into bulls.
You need to train your calves like all your other muscle groups and hit them from all the angles. Your calves are made up of gastrocnemius and soleus muscles which can be targeted with different exercises.
The standing (knees extended) calf exercises work the gastrocnemius muscle while the sitting (knees bent) exercises target the shorter soleus muscle. You need to constantly shock your calves by switching the intensity, volume, and exercises.
Changing your feet placement while performing the calf exercises can also spark new gains. Performing the exercises with a normal foot placement (parallel) targets the medial calves.
Keeping your toes together and heels facing outwards will work the outer calves. If you want to target your inner calves, you should keep your heels together and toes facing outwards.
Calves Blaster Workout
Standing Calf Raises – 3 Sets 30 Reps
A complete range of motion is one of the most important aspects of training calves. Many people make the mistake of overloading the machine and can only move the weights a few inches. You should try to go as deep as you can so your heels are almost touching the floor.
At the top of the movement, your feet should look like a Ballerina standing on her toes. Contract your calves at full extension with every rep. Your calves should have a muscle-ripping pump by the end of this set.
Seated Calf Raises (Changing Feet Placements) – 3 Sets 10-10-10 Reps
Since your knees are bent in the seated calf raises this exercise targets the soleus muscle. In this exercise, you’ll be changing your feet placement to target the three heads of your calves.
Start the exercise with a neutral foot placement and perform 10 reps. Rack the weights and switch your foot placement so your toes are pointing inwards. After completing 10 reps, point your toes outwards and complete the last 10 reps.
Leg Press Calf Raises – 3 Sets 10 Reps
Leg press calf raises are a great exercise as they isolate your calves. You should be able to have a better range of motion in this exercise as this is one of the few calf exercises where your feet will be placed higher than your upper body. This foot placement can give your toes leverage to extend more than the other calf exercises.
Since you’ll only be doing 10 reps on this exercise, you should try going heavier without compromising your form. Use rep tempos and take three seconds to lower the weights, and hold the weight at the bottom for a second. Take two seconds to extend your feet and hold for three seconds at the top of the movement.
Single Leg Standing Smith Machine Calf Raises – 3 Sets 15 Reps
Unilateral exercises are a great way to bring up lagging muscle groups as it gets easier to establish a mind-muscle connection. Training one side of a muscle group at a time also helps in fixing muscle imbalances.
Stand on your right foot at the edge of an aerobics exercise step or a weight plate with your left foot elevated. Perform the 15 reps on the right leg and then switch to your left leg.
Donkey Calf Raises – 3 Sets 20 Reps
Donkey calf raises were one of Arnold’s favorite exercises to train his calves. If you don’t have a donkey calf raise machine at your gym, bend over on a raised platform and ask someone to sit on your back.
Since your knees are bent in the donkey calf raises, they target your soleus muscle. By the end of this exercise and this workout, your calves should be filled with lactic acid and blood and should be begging you for mercy.
*Header image courtesy of Envato Elements.