With summer quickly approaching this means less sweaters and more tees, but it also means less pants and more shorts. So let’s take a break from those summer curls for a second and turn you attention to your legs, and in particular those calves of yours! I am by no means saying that I have massive bulging calves, but what I have seen in my calves is massive improvement in their growth over the last six months or so since I have implemented these tips. Let’s get those baby cows growing!
#1 Don’t Shy Away From Lower Reps
When it comes to calf training I see many people in the gym blasting out 20+ reps for some odd reason. Yes, I get that this could be considered a burn out set or a superset but not for every workout. The calf may be small but it is just like any other muscle in terms of what is needed for it to grow. Say you want to grow your chest or your back how many reps will your normally carry out on an exercise for maximum hypertrophy? Yes, 8-12 reps is the correct answer so why not do this for calves? Look to switch your workout up to three sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. This does not mean that high reps won’t activate growth within the calves but try to shy away from carrying out this type of high reps approach every workout.
#2 Switch Up Your Stance
I’m not going to go into much detail about why this is important but in short it’s needed because there are three different parts to your calf and they are the gastrocnemius, soleus, and the plantaris. In order to ensure your hitting each different part of your calf your going to want to switch up your stance every so often. Instead of the standard toes pointing forward stance look to switch it up a bit, you could point your toes slightly inwards in order to isolate more of the outer calf or point your toes outward to target more of the inner calf. Next time you’re doing calves give this a try! Or you could even try a personal favorite of mine, super setting all three stances.
#3 Form! Form! Form!
This is a BIG one! Many people in the gym for some odd reason seem to chuck form out the window when it comes to training calves. I see people speeding through rep after rep on calf raises with very little contraction or tension on the muscle. When carrying out any calf exercise look to get a nice stretch when you are in the eccentric (lowering) part of the exercise then get a nice firm contraction when you are in the concentric (raising) part of the movement. This ensures you are hitting the calves effectively and efficiently, helping to spark them into growth.
Carry out these three very simple tips in order to ensure your ‘short ready’ by the time Summer rolls around, which is sooner than you think.