What are your calves like? Mine are no good. In fact, by the standards of normal people, they’re pretty good, but by bodybuilding standards… well, let’s just say that Dorian Yates wouldn’t be intimidated by a comparison between the two.
So if my calves aren’t anything special, what makes me qualified to write an article about calf training? Wouldn’t it make more sense to hear from someone with extraordinary calf development?
Ironically, anyone with unusual calf development is the last person to ask for tips on improving their lower legs.
This is because, more than any other muscle group, the size and shape of each person’s calves is determined by heredity. People with a genetic predisposition to have muscular, defined calves only need to walk to have spectacular calves.
For the rest of us mere mortals, it’s different. As with most bodybuilders, my calves have always been resistant to growth. So much so that until recently they were very much like a pair of pool cues.
I had to fight for every extra inch, but despite all my efforts, nothing seemed to help. I tried everything. But then I realized… After all it was so simple (As most “discoveries” are).
After years of trial and error, I finally found the secret to adding precious muscle tissue to the stubborn gastrocnemius and soleus muscles .
Heels up, heels down, what else? We have to recognize that calves are very limited in terms of how they can be worked. Everything is some kind of foot lift.
Add to this the fact that it is not possible to generate satisfactory calf congestion, such as when training the chest or arms. They just “burn”. The key to getting spectacular calves is not in the exercises, but in the way they are used.
There are two theories regarding calf training. Due to the fact that the muscle group consists mainly of slow twitch (red) muscle fibers, the growth potential is limited. Slow fibers are designed for endurance, leaving the assumption that calves should be trained with a high number of repetitions.
The opposite of this school of thought is that because calves are used to perform hundreds of repetitions every day, “light” training doesn’t work since the heel bone and Achilles tendon can withstand tremendous tensions, so it would be It is reasonable to think that it would be necessary to train the calves with heavy loads. Both theories are valid. Both theories have flaws.
TRAIL OF TRACKS
Man performing plantar flexion sitting
From my experience, calves respond best when worked quickly. This does not necessarily mean that repetitions should be performed quickly. What this means is that the total number of repetitions should be condensed in the shortest possible time.
That is the key.
It can be hard to believe that any training session that lasts just a few minutes can be very effective. However, in the case of calf training, it is not only possible but preferable.
Here’s how it is done:
Select only one calf exercise. Your goal will be to perform 75 repetitions.
Use a weight with which you could normally perform a series of twenty repetitions.
Complete twenty repetitions and continue until you cannot perform any more repetitions.
Rest just long enough for the burning sensation to pass (no more than 10 seconds) and continue to perform as many repetitions as possible, even if only 5 repetitions at a time.
Continue this way until you reach the goal of 75 repetitions.
And this is it! Total time? Less than 4 minutes. It’s guaranteed to be a very painful 4 minutes, but it doesn’t last more than 4 minutes anyway.
Warning: You may feel guilty that your calf training lasted so shortly, but you will have a different point of view the next day when your calves are as dense and stiff as ever!
Man with the huge calves
Don’t be tempted by more work! Wait and see. If you are still able to walk the next day, it is because you have either not used enough weight or let too much time pass between sets.
Once you are able to tolerate this program, increase the number of repetitions to 100. Once this becomes very easy (something I think will not happen in the near future) add more weight.
I have found that this is by far the most efficient method for adding some well-deserved muscle to your calves. Even the most gain-resistant bodybuilder can add some size and shape to his lower legs as long as he can tolerate the torture necessary to “continue” and complete the work in the shortest possible time.
But have no doubt about that – when you are following the program, you will feel as if someone is throwing acid on your calves! (And who said calf training couldn’t be fun?).
Now you have no excuses. Four minutes is nothing! But a good pair of calves is a “finishing touch” much appreciated for a complete physique. If this program worked for me, it can work with anyone.
Try this 4-minute program for a month and see for yourself if it doesn’t make a dramatic difference to the size and shape of your calves.
Even if your calves are not your best body part, there is no reason not to look good. It only needs 4 minutes a week, and a great capacity for pain tolerance.