This One Tip Will Turn Your Calves Into Bulls
I’ll come out clean; I suffered from CLS (chicken leg syndrome) for a long time. My quads and hams weren’t as big a problem as compared to my calves. Small calves can make your legs looks skinnier than they are.
You don’t want to be ridiculed for having a huge upper body and tiny legs. Having a weaker lower body can even have an adverse psychological effect on you. You might lose all your confidence in your physique if your legs are lagging.
Wearing track pants to the gym and outside isn’t a permanent solution to this problem. Arnold’s weakest body part was his legs. He turned this weakness into a strength by wearing shorts to the gym every day.
People made fun of him for his skinny legs. Arnie, being the champion he is, used this body shaming as a motivation. Look around in your gym, and you might see people with relatively weaker calves.
Other than genetics, the reason behind this could be the lack of knowledge and understanding. The broscientists at your gym might have convinced you to follow the ‘right approach’ to calf training and stick to a certain number of exercises, sets, and reps.
Doing The Wrong Thing
Most people make the mistake of doing the same exercises over and over again. The most amount of variation they have in their calf workouts is the weekly alternation between the standing and seated calf raises.
Calves being the stubborn muscle groups they are, can be one of the hardest to grow. You need to train your calves from all the angles to ensure an overall development. The standing variation targets the gastrocnemius while the seated version targets the soleus.
When it comes to calf training, some people treat it as accessory work and train them at the end of their leg workouts after they’re completely exhausted. You should be training your calves at the beginning of your workouts, especially if you have underdeveloped calves.
Calves Are Not Different
While most people like doing 12-15 sets while training every other muscle group, they stick with just three sets for their calves. You stand on your calves for entire days. You need to be doing more to shock them into growing.
You should be treating your calves just like all the other muscle groups. Aim to hit failure every time you’re training your calves. Regularly changing the intensity of your calf workouts will also take your gains to the next level.
Grow Your Calves Into Bulls
I had tried everything, the standing and seated calf machines, donkey calf raises, single leg calf raises and calf raises on the leg press, but nothing seemed to work for me. There was hardly any technique I didn’t use.
This was when I decided to return to the basics and move my way up. I quit using any weights. I realised people with small calves (me included) wasted a lot of their time on the calf machines lifting heavy weight just to compensate for their toothpick legs.
Ego lifting keeps these people from having a complete range of motion – which is detrimental in developing your calves. I then did something which might sound a little counterintuitive. I stopped training calves in the gym.
Get On Your Toes
There is a reason ballerinas have toned calves even when they have skinny legs. They spend most of their times on their toes. This puts all their body weights on their calves and ankles. I could see how this can be my ticket to bigger calves.
No, I didn’t signup for a ballerina class. Instead, I decided to train my calves every single day for the next one month at home, right before I go to bed. This proved to be the change my calves needed.
This workout consists of only one exercise and one set. You will be doing 100 reps of standing calf raises. You need to make sure you’re on your toes at the top of the movement and squeeze the hell out of your calves.
Have all the tension on your big toe while lifting yourself. Don’t transfer your weight on the smaller toes. You should look like a ballerina standing on her toes while you’re at the top of the movement.
Stand beside a wall and follow the same movement and momentum throughout the exercise. Don’t hold onto or lean against the wall. Doing this can take off the tension from your toothpicks.
You don’t have to worry about the negative motion (below parallel) of this movement. Squeezing your calves at the top of the movement and coming back to the starting position is enough to get the gains going.
Slowly raise yourself during the concentric movement (going up) and follow the same motion on the eccentric part. Don’t drop like a bomb while coming down. Maintain a mind-muscle connection throughout the exercise.
The first time you try this workout, your calves will be on fire. Go to bed right after finishing the workout and give your body time to recover. As you get better, add 15 reps to this exercise. Aim for complete muscle failure at the end of this workout.