Calves are one of the most common complaints among bodybuilders and exercise buffs. They tend to be the hardest muscle group to train and maximize size. If you want a proportionate body, you will need to build and strengthen your calves.
Think about it. You use your calves in almost everything you do each day. From walking, climbing stairs, standing, reaching and jumping; your calves are in constant use. So it reasons that in order to build and gain larger muscles in your calves, you will need to work stronger and harder. With strong calf muscles, you will cut down on wear and tear upon your joints.
One of the most common exercises just requires a stair or a bench. Stand upon the stair or bench; take care to hold onto something to keep you balanced. Drop your heels down. Slowly lift your heels up, contracting your calf’s muscles. Then slowly drop your heels back down. You should use free weights to help place more stress upon your calves. Slowly build up to more reps and heavier weights.
This next exercise was made famous by the former bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is commonly referred to as Donkey Calve Raises. All you need is a bench and a workout buddy, the heavier he is the better results for you. Bend over a bench and have your workout buddy sit on your back. Slowly raise your heels up and then at the top contract your calf muscles. Then slowly lower your heels until they touch the floor. Again, work up to higher reps and if needed, your buddy can hold weights to induce more stress.
Standing Calf Raises can be performed on a machine, or if your gym does not have one, you can use a barbell with weight. You start off with feet shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. Slowly rise up to the balls of your feet, contracting your calves on the way up. Then slowly lower your heels.
Cardio is a surprising way to build your calves. Many may think that cardio will make you thinner, when it can actually help build your calves up. Running and jump rope are two major cardio exercises that focus in on your calves. Both require your calves to work quickly and efficiently, opposite of what weight-lifting does. Cardio is a great idea to add into your weight-lifting routine.
Above all, remember that building your calves takes time. It is one of the hardest muscle groups to train. Keep persistent and consistent, you will bear fruit of your hard work.
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