how to build huge calves
Visiting a local gym to assist a client transitioning out of physical therapy, I heard a strange noise coming from behind, making it difficult to hear the person in front of me. I turned to witness a man groaning. Moaning. Squinting with face to the ceiling.
He was doing seated calf raises.
This one goes out to you, Seated Calf Raise Machine Calf Crusher.
The man wasn't asking for advice. He was working them calves. It was impossible not to judge him.
I mean, he was at the gym. Strength training. He could have been doing a lot worse with his time. But all the moaning and yelling and Big Dawg drama was just begging for attention of some kind. I was tempted to go ask him what his Seated Calf Raise Machine Goals are.
Perhaps they will share their Secret Russian Seated Calf Raise Machine Routine, shouting spittle in your face until you blow that thing up. Because the soleus muscle is preferentially recruited when the knee is flexed and the gastrocnemius is on slack and blah blah blah.
But if you want to be strong and fast and efficient, and you're feet and ankles are in relatively good health and you care about functional anatomy, you should probably get off the seated calf raise machine. And the standing donkey calf raise machine.
If you really want your calves to function well and maybe grow a little, you should try my very own
Calfy McCalverson Anti-Calf Routine.
Squat and/or Deadlift: Once or twice per week, for a lot of weight and a lot of reps. Just do it, and you will grow the right stuff in the right proportions, all over.
Single Leg Jump Rope: Once or twice per week do this as a warm up or as a finisher. Do 100 jumps on both legs to tune in and don't even look at your calves until you can do 100 single leg jumps in a row on each leg.
Hill Sprint with *Special* Recovery: Sprint up a fairly steep hill and walk down backwards with nice long controlled strides.
Caution - You will be VERY sore in the calves the day after walking downhill backwards between hill sprints. You will stir up achilles tendinopathy and other ankle/foot related problems if you do any of this too-much-too-soon. So go slow, okay?
If you're relatively heavy or have structural foot issues, you need to pay particular attention to the right foot wear and slow progression. These exercises are all fairly aggressive in terms of strain and impact. You may need to do months of prehab before your muscles and tendons are ready for this.
If you manage to achieve the resolve and the type of body that comes with these exercises done on a fairly regular basis and you still CARE about the size of your calves...
Well, I truly don't know what to tell you.
But I definitely have someone to introduce you to...
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