Sunday, June 17, 2012

ADVANCED CALVE TRAINING: Wear shorts this summer!!!

     It is one of the most visible muscles, especially here in Arizona where I live, and any warm climate, yet one of the most neglected. The first and most important thing you need to ask yourself if training calves has been a weak spot is how many times have my calves been really sore? We're talking sore, not injured, if the number is low, or zero, it's time to rethink intensity. My calve work outs were crap until 2 or 3 years ago when I finally started to focus on them and not just busting out three quick sets of toe raisers to end leg day expecting magical growth. Intensity is going to involve weight, reps, your program, your sneakers, and your range of motion.

     Sneakers, okay this is a tough one, and for more people it will not be an option, but if your gym permits, take off your sneakers, modern sneakers are great, they make walking and running perfect for us, but unfortunaely they take away from calve developement. At my gym I have to wear my sneakers, but at the fire house if it's leg days, after squats and the rest of the upper leg excercises, sneakers are off! I actually did squats bare foot last time too, but that is another blog entry.

    Ok our next issue is going to be range of motion, when you first start your training proper form is to go all the way down with some elevation and to toe press all the way up to to where the gastrocenmius and soleus are straining to keep you 3 inches taller. But for advanced calf training, some form will be sacrificed. You will complete as many reps as you can with completely perfect form, then you will finish in partials, all the way down and up as much as you can until the calves are screaming and until you can not even raise it to half way or the nuetral postion, at that point the weight will be dropped, this is why I prefer a standing calve machine to free weights as it is the same exact system but the pin is much easier to drop with extremely little rest between sets. After repping out your drop set stand on the side of the calve machine and do even more calve raises with no weight until you think walking may not be possible. This is also where weight comes in, if you weigh 200 pounds at an ideal body fat %, and are getting adequate cardio, your calves are used to 200 pounds, you will need to do a few sets heavier, even if you can't get perfect form yet, you will in time. Just remember on range and weight, that we are talking some of the sets not to use the whole range, not every set.

     3 sets will not be enough, and a whole calve day will not be realistic. 6-8 QUALITY INTENSE sets would be ideal for stubborn calves, while rotation is great for overall development for size it is more ideal to start with standard form on your first 3-4 sets, the remaining sets you may want to invert or ex-vert your toes to make sure you are hitting them from all angles, and of course get a good stretch between sets, if your calves can handle this okay, you may want to consider doing them twice a week with at least 2 days in between.

Advanced Calves Program:

(bare foot if your gym permits)
Perfect Form Standing Toe Raisers: 20, 15
Decreased Range of Motion Toe Raisers: 6-10 (drop set), 6-10 (drop set)
-burn out set no rest go right to-
No Weight Toe Raisers on elevated surface to failure
Seated Calve Raise with alternating angles: 15, 15, 15
Last two sets burn out set with Toe Raisers as in excercise 1

So go shopping today for some new shorts, motivate yourself to get those legs fully developed and don't think of calve training as an after thought, think of it as the perfect ending to leg day.

Feel free to email or facebook me with any questions!

Arizona Fitness at Inbox dot com
Consult your doctor or a medical professional before beginning any fitness or diet program.

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