by Tony Gjokaj March 19, 2020 4 min read
The Calves are a smaller muscle that many people have difficulty developing due to ineffective volume, poor moving patterns, and yes, we can even blame the genetics too.
But before we point and blame our genetics on the poor muscular development of the calves, we need to understand that majority of lifters do calves incorrectly.
This is seen from the individuals who put on obnoxious amounts of weight on the calf raise and “bounce” while attempting to perform a repetition.
In this article, we will discuss how to strategize on calf development to truly build some badass calves. Calves may be a big part of genetics, but that does not mean we can’t build some solid ones!
This is a chapter in our eBook, The Muscle Compendium.
The Calves consist of two major muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.
The function of the calves is to flex the foot at the ankle and flex the leg at the knee. The calves work with the legs in the assistance of walking, running, jumping, and more.
When emphasizing the muscular development of the calves, one would flex the foot at the ankle by lifting your heel up and rising with your toes.
Isn’t it surprising that a simple muscle like this just absolutely sucks at growing?
Although the calves are a tiny muscle group, there are a variety of strategies you can utilize. In this section, we will discuss any strategies that will transform your calves.
This section is very limited when it comes to calf exercises; the most effective exercises are the following:
Use a standing calf raise variation and a seated/angle variation (either the seated or donkey calf raise).
*You can do dumbbell variations for standing and seated as well if you are lacking a specific calf machine!
To conclude our brief calf training section, we recommend doing 12-16 weekly sets for optimal calf development. You are able to spread calf work over 2-4x weekly granted you follow the weekly sets recommendation.
In regards to rep ranges, 10-20 reps are optimal. Utilizing standing and seated calf exercises will help muscular development in this area. Adding to that, I recommend trying unilateral/a single leg calf raise for effective development as well.
Since the calves are such a small muscle with a small range of motion, slow and controlled is the key to bigger calves. Commonly, people put a heavy amount of weight on the machine and bang out calves by “bouncing” up and down. This is absolutely ineffective and an insult to me.
When training calves, picture leading with the heels and ending with your toes. This means engage the liftoff with your heels first instead of your toes. You will contract your calves right at liftoff in doing this.
To conclude our calf training section, genetics plays a big part in fitness, but that should be no excuse to not train calves.
Thanks for reading, Reforged Legion!
Until next time!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.
by Tony Gjokaj February 21, 2024 4 min read
In the battle against depression, exercise stands as a powerful ally.
Yet, for many, the mere thought of hitting the gym or going for a run can feel daunting.
The key lies in transforming exercise from a chore into a journey.
A place where you not only become physically stronger... but mentally as well.
In this guide, we'll explore actionable strategies to enhance motivation, streamline the exercise process, and cultivate a consistent routine that amplifies its mood-boosting benefits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 25, 2024 3 min read
Did you know that our relationship with food is deeply intertwined with our psychology?
The convenience and allure of processed foods often tap into our psychological triggers, making it challenging to break free from their hold.
However, by understanding our behaviors and implementing strategic psychological practices, we can successfully reduce our reliance on processed foods.
In this blog, we'll explore five behavioral strategies that leverage psychology to foster healthier eating habits.
Let's dive in!
by Tony Gjokaj January 11, 2024 4 min read
Navigating through the challenges of depression can be a difficult journey for many.
In the quest for mental well-being, you know that exercise is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
However there will be days where you're not motivated... and only with carefully crafted discipline, can we do what we need to do when we aren't motivated to do it.
What exactly is discipline, and how can we use it on our journey?
In this blog post, we will explore the essence of discipline and delve into five effective ways to cultivate this invaluable trait.
Let's dive in!