Don’t Neglect to Train and Build Your Lower Leg Muscles.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but you can work the quad muscles of your upper legs to death, and they can be as bulky and cut as they can be — but if your calf muscles are small and undeveloped — well then you still do not have an impressive set of legs. Ironically, this is something I see on many a physique of the person striving for physical fitness and an overall muscular fit look.
Why Muscular Lower Legs Make A Difference
Way back in the early 1980′s Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book “Diary of a Bodybuilder”) emphasized how important nicely developed calf muscles are to the overall look of the muscular physique. He noted that his efforts developing his calf muscles put him far ahead of his early competition — even though many of them had incredible upper bodies — and even impressive quadriceps. Arnold realized early one that well developed calf muscles with a little size can really make a nice set of legs on a man or a woman. Regarding women, it is what happens when they slip into nice high pair of pumps. The calf muscle is in a semi-flexed position and so wearing the shoes accentuates the muscular nature of the calf muscle — granting those legs a bit more sex appeal. Indeed a nice set of sizable and cut calf muscles can make all the difference in that very first impression of the physique.
Is There Any Secret to Build My Calf Muscles?
Building calf muscles is really not difficult if you patiently employ proper technique. You’ll see people performing leg lifts of many variations including scenarios where you are standing up (in which case a weight is tied around your waist or being spread across your shoulders) or in a situation where you are seated in a calf machine of some sort). The bottom line is that you employ a motion where you go up on your toes so that your calf muscle if flexed.
Perhaps the easiest way is to simply stand on the edge of a stair and lower your heel down as far as you can to stretch your achille’s tendon, and then lift you heel up as far as you can (while basically leaving your toe perched on the edge of the stair). This movement is crucial and it stretches out the calf muscle as fully as possible and then it, the concentration contracts it into a nice ball of muscle.
Now the secret to generating size is simply working up to a considerable amount of weight. I’ve had many people ask me why they’ve continued to work their calves and yet they don’t gain much size even though they do get more defined. My answer is always that the secret is to use proper technique but to work up to considerably more weight than you would normally do. For example, when I started out, I put a 25 pound weight on a seated calf machine. But after six months I had worked up to three 35 pound plates. It was as this level that my calves starting exhibiting considerable growth.
What Technique Should I Use to Build up My Calf Muscles?
In the days of old, I would have written a half zillion words on technique, but you know, if you just go to YouTube an type in “Building Calf Muscles” you’ll see some spectacular videos with varying techniques for building the calves. There is no magic technique and different trainers like different scenarios. But your exercise should involve three of four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions (moving up a in weight with each new set). And only do your calf routine about once ever week or once every 5 days if you can handle that intensity — But no more than that or you’ll defeat the size increase you are working toward.
Remember the only secret bullet here is to not hesitate over time to really shock the calf muscles with considerable weight. When you are done, you want your calf muscles to truly be exhausted. This has to be worked up to slowly overtime and if you are not patient and push it too much — you will injure your tendons or connective tissue. So again and I can’t say this enough — be patient and work up to your goal over many months. The ultimate goal here is have good healthy, strong legs, that look great and have superior functionality.
One other important thing. Make very sure that you are well hydrated and have excellent nutrition and supplements as well. When you get to seriously working out your calf muscles you can get some hideous leg cramps (charlie horses) if you are not hydrated with water and also have the proper nutrition and electrolytes in your diet. Occasional massages are also good for the leg muscles, but again moderation is key here.
Your Calf Muscles Can Become Part of The Symmetrical Lean Muscular Body You Are Working Toward
Don’t neglect your calf muscles. They are indeed a spectacular and beautiful part of your physiology and their incredible functionality gives you the power to run, walk and excel in sports and everything you do when you are in an upright position. Calf muscles must be part of the whole for the natural bodybuilder, and if you treat them right, they will reward you as well.