27 March 2011

Calves/Lower Leg Exercises

One common complaint from people serious about their physiques is calf development – or lack thereof. It seems like you can try just about any thing and every thing to make your calf muscles respond, but these lower leg muscles just don't develop.

It's frustrating to have all the pieces in place, except for one. If your quadriceps are large and in good shape, but you have pencil-thin calves, it can be embarrassing. Well, you can whip those calves into shape; it's just going to take a little bit of creative work and determination. Here are a few exercises to help you get your calf muscles in shape.

Standard Toe Raises. This is the classic calf exercise. You put weights on your shoulder, like you were going to do a squat, but you simply push up and raise your heels high, getting up onto the balls of your feet. The problem that many people have is they use weights that are too light for this exercise. Try using 50% or your squat max in the calf raise and see how many repetitions you can do. If you can do more than ten, take the weight up to 60%. Keep doing this until you get to a weight that only allows you to do four to six clean repetitions. Keep blasting away at that weight range until you can get up to 10 reps, and then add more weight.

Triple-Box Jumps. This is a plyometric exercise that will leave your calf muscles screaming for mercy. Hop off of an 18 inch high box or bench into a full squat, then jump as high as you can. Don't stop there though, for a full repetition, do three quick, explosive toe jumps, using only your calf muscles. Then climb back on the box and do it again. If you can get through this for five cycles, add two more toe jumps and start over again.

To get your calf muscles to grow, try new things. Change weights used, repetitions done and exercise order every four to six weeks to keep these muscles confused and growing at a rapid pace.

***check with a medical professional before starting any diet/exercise program***