They may not seem like a big deal to non-bodybuilders, but having large, well-proportioned calves can make all the difference in the world! Probably one of the most, if not the most, overlooked muscle to develop when hitting the weight room by both men and women, calves can alter your appearance in a huge way. If you have ever been to the gym, like myself, and noticed most of the guys working out, what are they usually doing? Arms! That's it. Or bench. Most guys haven't the first clue how to go about developing their physique into a steel sculpture, all they know is that big arms and a big chest make them look cool. And what about women? I usually see them either on the leg press machine or kegel machine, or a few daring women sometimes on the squat rack machine. Ladies, you are not going to blow up with muscles like guys do if you lift! In fact, when you develop your calves it makes it easier to walk in heels, giving you that healthy fit look!
In all honesty, big arms without well-developed deltoids looks really stupid. Same goes for bodybuilders who have really big necks and really small calves. The calves are actually supposed to be the same size as the neck, according to the legend who perfected the Grecian body formula, Steve Reeves. I'm not going to argue with him because he's not only a beast, just looking at him you can tell the time and detail that went into making sure he looked proportioned and not top-heavy.
Calves are one of those muscles that recover very quickly, often time within 24 hours or so. I am not saying hit your calves every day, but what I am saying is that is they are lagging, go ahead and make them a fitness priority by working them out 3 or 4 days per week. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, back in his prime, noticed that his calves were really small compared to the rest of his body so he started working them out more and more.
Anatomy of the calf
Calves at the Beginning of Your Fitness Workout:
You may or may not know this little bodybuilding secret of the pros. It is quite frank, too simple not to do. Whatever muscle is your priority, work it out at the beginning of your workout. For instance, if you are doing back and chest one day, go ahead and make whichever muscle you are lacking on your first priority by putting it at the beginning of your workout. Like I mentioned earlier, the calves are a muscle group that recover very quickly. At the beginning of every other workout, go ahead and hit your calves hard, exhausting them before you become fatigued from your other lifts. Fitness is a mind game. Be smarter than your body!
Smith Machine Calf Raises:
Bodybuilders have been doing this lift for years, so if you have missed the boat, don't worry, I'm going to explain it! The secret is to feel the burn in your inner calves, fatiguing them until you can't do a single more rep. Go to the smith machine rack, put plates on either side, then put the bar on the back of your shoulders just like you would for a squat. After this, stand on the edge of a plastic platform and go to the tips of your toes and go back down. Keep going until you feel the burn, and at this point, keep going. Once your calves are so fatigued that you can't do another rep, rack the bar and that is set one. Do 3 sets! One step closer to more fit calves!
Single Leg Calf Press:
A machine that many men don't use is the leg press machine. In fact, I have seen this machine being used by more women than men when I am at the gym. If you really want to stimulate your calf muscles properly, then you have to fatigue them so much that they feel they are going to rip out of your skin. This is a secret of the bodybuilders, so I figure it only proper that you follow it. Go ahead and add several plates to either side and sit snugly in the seat. Just as you did with the raises, put your toes on the plank with the rest of your foot off. Do as many calf flexes on this plank as you can then switch to the other foot. Once both calves are exhausted, go ahead and finish the set out with both feet on the plank and crank out more.
So, if you haven't started working calves into your fitness regimen, do so. Remember that there is nothing more silly looking than a big upper body and a tiny lower body. Ladies, develop the calves! Oh, and develop the thighs and booty too! Until next time, check out some of my other articles! Ask me questions on fitness or health.
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