The calf muscle is a tricky area to grow for a lot of fitness enthusiasts.
No matter how many sets of calf raises you do, you just can’t seem to grow calves that match the thickness of your upper leg.
If you’ve been trying to add size to your calves for months to no avail, Kaged Muscle CEO, Kris Gethin, and the Muscle & Strength team have some tips for you.
As Kris mentions, there are two important components of the calves that must be taken into consideration when training them: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The soleus must be trained first, because the fascia (the thick webbing surrounding the muscle) is very tough and needs blood flow to improve the elasticity of the muscle.
In order to do so, Kris recommends performing a seated calf raise first. By working the soleus muscle first, you’ll increase blood flow to the calf so when you work the gastrocnemius muscle later (via the standing calf raise), you’ll be able to get a better contraction.
When performing seated calf raises, you want to perform the eccentric portion of the lift slower than you do the concentric. This is to protect your achillias tendon from taking on the brunt of the work, which often takes place when bouncing the weight.
The calf is used to plantar flexion, or going on to the toes, but it’s not used to stretching. That’s why Kris attempts to enhance the stretch at the bottom of each repetition. He also tries to perform seated calf raises in a rep range of 25-35 reps per set.
After seated calf raises, Kris moves on to standing calf raises, stating that the muscle is now primed for the movement. The movement follows the same rep speed as the seated version, focusing on the eccentric portion of the rep.
The muscles in the leg respond very well to high repetitions. This is because the leg is composed of a lot of both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Kris states the best way to attack them is to use higher rep ranges, while still trying to go heavy.