Many men find it difficult to fully develop calf muscles that help to balance out the appearance of the lower leg. This is in large part because genetics mostly determine the size and shape. Your calves are made up of two parts the soleus and gastrocnemius. The soleus muscle is located right underneath the gastrocs and will determine if you have a fuller appearance or not. However if you are not blessed with big soleus’s not to worry there are some techniques and exercises that can help increase muscle tissue and increase the size of your calves.
The calf muscle in general is an endurance muscle and should be trained with higher reps and frequently. Always do one calf exercise during your legs routine or a minimum of three times per week and allow for a day of rest in between sessions.
• Standing Calf Raise – This can be done with a squat bar or dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and gently raise and lower on the balls of your feet (15-20 reps.) Remember to keep your back straight and use a weight that is comfortable to move up and down without breaking posture.
• Seated Calf Raise – If you have back problems the seated calf raise is a great way to work out your calves without applying pressure to your back and spine. This is a machine which has a seated bench and a padded bar that will sit across your lap. Simply add the weight you want to lift sit with your feet out on the raised bar in front and lift up (15 – 20 reps.)
• Stair Calf Raise – This exercise can be done just about anywhere. All you need to do is find a staircase and stand with the balls of your feet on the ledge of the stair and raise up and down (40 – 50 reps.) If you are not using weights you should pump up the reps. If you wear ankle weighs you can reduce the number down.
The great thing about calf exercises is you can do the stand alone type or add a simple calf raise to any leg lift. Try adding them after a dead lift or lunge. No matter how you prefer to work your calves you should feel a slight burn and remember to stretch thoroughly to prevent cramping and injury.