You call those calves?

Brandon Hahn October 29, 2012 Training Articles

Seriously bro, it’s a squat rack, not a curling station. It’s time to focus more attention on other body parts. We are talking about those twigs that you call calves. They need some serious attention and we’ve got the answer. Your arms can use a break, but don’t worry we aren’t going to eliminate your “arms” day. God forbid we did something like that, right?

If you are wondering why I mentioned the squat rack above, you really need to keep reading. The exercise world did not always have a calf raise machine. People actually used to work their calves hard. They’d load up a barbell, step on a block, and hammer away. Nowadays, you’ll see some young buck hammering away on a calf machine with horrid form.

Misguided souls

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there that leaves people frustrated. The calves are either overworked, underworked, or not worked at all. The problem all leads to poor calf development. It is frustrating to see someone with mammoth calves and barely ever work them. How can this be? Genetics tends to play a huge role in calf development. However, genetics is not something we at AX allow to be a crutch for ANYONE.

You want growth?

It’s time to put those calves to work. We mean serious work. You can complete the calf workout once or twice per week, dependent on your calf development. The key is to make sure you allow a few days rest between your calf workouts. Also, if your calves need a bit of work, then opt for two times per week. If they only need some work, or you need a stellar workout, opt for this workout once per week.

Quick tips for growth:

Before we hit the workout, we need to point out a few things that are vital for calf growth.
1.Stretch – Yes, you should stretch after every workout. The stretch we are referring to is the stretch during each rep as your lower the weight. Allow the calf to stretch fully before using an explosive contraction to really squeeze the calf.
2.Full contraction – After the big stretch, be sure to get in a full squeeze. The key is to control the weight through all aspects of the lift.
3. Maintain tempo – Your calves take a beating from all vigorous activity. You need calf strength, and this is achieved by lifting weights, not ballistic movements. Control your speed through the lift. The calves do not need you bouncing weight up and down causing your achilles tendon to nearly tear off.

The Workout:

Barbell Calf Raises (with a block) – Use a barbell loaded with weight. Stand on a block that is around 4-6 inches high to perform your calf raises. Be sure to keep the ball of each foot on the block. You should not be supported by your toes.

Seated Calf Raises – This can be done on a seated calf raise machine or simply with weights and a chair. The machine is self-explanatory, but be sure to keep control! The other version requires a chair that allows you to sit upright with your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Use a wooden block and place it so you can maintain a 90 degree knee bend (i.e. you do not want it too close or too far away). Load weight plates or a heavy dumbbell (you can place a towel between your legs and the weights) onto your legs just before your knees. Perform the seated calf raise as you would on a machine.

Loaded Calf Stretch – I like to perform these with half of the weight used for the Barbell Calf Raises. Stand on the same 4-6 inch block and descend into the stretch. Instead of doing a normal calf raise, you will hold the bottom position for a deep calf stretch. Try to hold for 30-60 seconds.

Barbell Calf Raises

  • 2 Sets
  • 6-8 Reps

Seated Calf Raises

  • 2 Sets
  • 6-8 Reps

Loaded Calf Stretch

  • 2 Sets
  • 6-8 Reps

There you have it, the tips and workout for massive calves! Do not be fooled by simplicity. Your efforts will be rewarded greatly. Simply follow the tips and complete the workout and expect GROWTH! Calves require extreme focus and the patience to allow growth. People often lump calves in at the last minute of a workout and expect great results. This lack of focus and planning is the cause of failure. Follow the workout and be ready for some pain (those calf stretches are brutal).

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About The Author

Brandon has been in the fitness industry for over seven years and has trained over 1,000 clients. He has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and continues to improve his physique with hardwork and dedication. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Brandon has the knowledge and skills to get you on the fast track to fitness.

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