Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3 More Ways to Train Your Puny Calves

(For men and women)

Ladies, if you don’t think your calves are important you need to listen to this song by Joe Tex called  "skinny Legs and All". Ok, it’s from 1967 but that doesn’t matter. The lesson remains intact today.

I did an article earlier on how to train your puny calves. I recommend you go back and read it again HERE. It explains why the calves are so difficult to train and how you should do calf exercises for the best results.

You all know you need to change up the exercises in your program on a regular basis. But let’s face it, there are only a limited number of ways you can work your calves. The range of motion is short and the calves move mainly in one plane-up and down.

Here are some additional exercises or variations you need to try. Follow the instructions in This Article for the details on how to train calves and apply them to these exercises.

Donkey Raise:

Some gyms have a machine for this movement (I’m lucky enough to have one) but they’re not very common. There are alternatives though.

This is the “old school” method. You just need a friend or two and something to support yourself on with your elbows.

If you’re uncomfortable with have two “Bro’s” sitting on you back here’s an alternative in a power rack. Here's a video

I DON’T LIKE USING JUST THE BAR PAD!  Use something like an Abmat pad to spread the weight of the bar over a larger area of your back


One Leg (unilateral) Seated Calf Raise

The bi-lateral seated calf raise is pretty much a stable. However, most people let their ego get in the way and use too much weight. This causes them to “bounce” out of the bottom. Also, when using the bi-lateral form, your dominant leg will do most of the lifting. Doing the exercise unilaterally will eliminate most of both problems.


 There is one more muscle we need to work. It’s called the Tibielis Anterior and runs down the outside of the lower leg. Though it’s a relatively small muscle it can add substantially to the appearance of size of you calf area. Dorsiflexion is the best way to work this muscle in isolation. Dorsiflexion is best described as simply rocking back with all your weight on your heels then trying to touch your kneecap with your toes.

Dorsiflexion can be done for high reps with no resistance with good results. Some gyms have a Tibielis machine but I don't see them much any more. Hammer Strength still makes one.
 You can also use a double handle attachment on a low cable pully. Sit on the floor facing the pully and put one foot through each handle. Another way to add resistance is simply to use resistance bands placed across your toe area and secured at both ends to an immovable object. 

The calves recover very quickly. It's ok to work them often. Daily if need be. And if they really suck work them first in every workout.

Remember, getting results with your calves is about high volume and slow full contraction and slow full stretch.

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