What sets a great physique apart from a good one? A superb set of thick diamond-shaped calves.
Muscular calves aren’t just only for the looks they provide. Strong calves can help support and stabilise your body during lifts such as the Deadlift and Squat, and during almost every sport. In fact, unless you’ve got calves strong enough to control the force the upper leg can generate, developed quads and hamstrings may be counterproductive.
The calf muscle, on the back of the lower leg, is actually made up of two muscles. The gastrocnemius is the larger calf muscle, forming the bulge visible beneath the skin. The gastrocnemius has two parts or “heads”, which together create its diamond shape. The soleus is a smaller flat muscle that lies underneath the gastrocnemius muscle.
Experts say that much like the abs, the calves recover from workouts much quicker than other muscle groups and can be trained more intensively. They also respond well to periodized training that includes high-rep work.
I recommend resistance training (weight training /bodyweight) and performing reps between 8 to 12 reps to increase muscle hypertrophy.
Here are the exercises you should be focusing on:
The seated calf raise is an isolated strength exercise. It puts greater emphasis on the soleus, which comprises more slow twitch muscle fibres. I recommend performing higher reps on this movement.
The standing calf raise helps develop size and strength in the lower leg. Doing it regularly increases strength and range of motion in the ankle. You can also do it with weights as standing weighted calf raises.
The single-leg calf raise helps develop strength in the calves using different angles including toes forward, toes pointing outward, and toes pointing inward. The angles work all the muscle fibres in the gastroc and soleus.
On each set, it is the best start with a moderate weight and do as many full-range reps as possible. After that, do as many drop sets as necessary to reach 30 reps.
Ensure that you are consuming ample protein as it is critical to gaining muscle mass. Try and consume recommended pre-workout foods and end your strength training with a protein-rich post-workout snack.