Effective Calf Muscle Exercises

What exercises do you tend to avoid? For most it is calf muscle exercises. Your calf muscles are no different than any part of your body. They must be given the proper attention.

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Don't use the excuse that it's your genetics that prevent you from having great calves.

There is a lot you can do. First thing however, is to eliminate the problems associated with many calf muscle exercises.

Calf Muscles Explained

Calf Muscle Exercises

Your main calf muscles are the gastrocnemius and soleus.

The soleus is broad and flat that is found below your gastrocnemius muscle. The gastrocnemius muscle extends from your knee joint to your ankle joint.

It is these two muscles that you use to work your feet and toes. However your soleus is only able to contribute fully when your legs are bent at the knees as with exercises such as the seated calf raise.

Avoid Issues That Cause
Calf Muscle Pain

There are things that you may do during your calf muscle exercises that prevent you from reaching your potential and may lead to extensive calf muscle pain.

These include:

  • Too many reps or not enough. Exercises that primarily work your gastrocnemius need to be completed in 20 seconds or so per set. This means heavy weight and low reps. Calf muscle exercises that work your soleus muscle should allow for sets of more than 40 seconds. Higher reps and lower weight.

  • Insufficient range of motion. This prevents proper calf muscle stretches during each rep. Do not let bounce or get full calf muscle stretches in the bottom position. A full range of motion is very critical.

  • Failure to do negatives. The lowering portion of a rep during calf muscle exercises is called a negative. Lower the weight slowly, don’t let it drop.

  • Bending your knees. During straight leg calf muscle exercises keep your leg straight. When you bend your legs you are letting your quadriceps to get involved.

Your Best Calf Muscle Exercises

The following calf muscle exercises will go a long way to fully develop your calves and eliminate calf muscle pain. Use them properly and you will get the best calf muscle stretches at the same time.

It's very important to remember this key point: You need to do Calf Muscle Exercises with perfect form and ensure adequate nutrition intake.

Standing Calf Raise:

Use a standard standing calf machine or substitute with one-leg dumbbell calf raises instead.

Position yourself in the calf machine and lift the weight up to start. Let your heels lower down for a full calf muscle stretches. Then lift up far enough to allow your calves to contract fully. Then continue for the recommended number of reps.

Dancer Heel Raises:

This isn’t one of the more common calf muscle exercises you see people doing. However, if you have problems getting your calves to look and work the way you want, then you should try this.

Do this in bare feet, flat on the floor. With your feet shoulder-width apart raise your heel up as high as you can taking 2 seconds to do it, hold at the top for 2 seconds, then lower to the floor, again taking 2 seconds. This equals one rep (6 seconds per rep).

Your goal is to do 100 reps every day for 30 days straight. Do not hold on to anything for support! After 30 days go back to your regular calf muscle exercises for 12 weeks or so then do it again.

Seated Calf Raise:

Sit on a seated calf machine and position your feet at a shoulder-width split. Point your toes straight ahead and go through a full range of motion from the bottom to the top positions.

Donkey Calf Raises:

calf muscle stretches

Use a donkey calf machine, a partner a weight belt. If you are using the machine begin by placing your middle back on the pad and the balls of your feet on the plate.

Allow your heels to drop as far below your toes as possible, getting a full stretch. Next slowly rise up as high as you can on to your toes until your calf muscles are fully flexed.

Hold this position for a second then slowly reverse the procedure to the start. Then repeat.

Leg Press Calf Raise:

Use a gym leg press machine (preferably a 45 degree plate loaded one).

Sit down as if you were going to do a traditional leg press for your quads. Push with the balls of your feet and extend and fully contract your calves.

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