The calf muscles are the most stubborn group to grow, but don't let genetics get in the way. Here are the reasons why calves are so stubborn and how to beat them at their own game.
The calf muscle is comprised of the soleus and gastrocnemius. These 2 muscles are involved in keeping the body upright while standing or walking.
Calves struggle to respond to training for 2 reasons:
The soleus muscle consists of up to 90% slow-twitch fibers, which have less growth potential than their fast-twitch counterparts. The soleus also has a lesser ability to synthesize protein after training.
Calves keep the body upright during the day, which means that they are constantly in use, as opposed to other muscle groups.
Despite these drawbacks, there is potential to further develop the calf muscles through rigorous and consistent training. At most, for natural lifters, calves should be able to grow to the size of the upper arms or neck. This will differ from individual to individual. The solution lies in proper training and consistency. The soleus is responsive to high volume, whereas the gastrocnemius is responsive to moderate guidelines.
The Calf-Blasting Solution
Calf training should follow these 2 guidelines:
Lifters often treat calf exercises as secondary to their workouts, which means that they neither receive adequate attention nor focus. Calf training should be treated as any other muscle group, if not more so, due to their lack of responsiveness.
Use these tips to finally begin blasting your calves and seeing results:
Both straight- and bent-legged exercises should be incorporated into training to blast both the soleus and gastrocnemius.
Calves must be consistently trained at a minimum of 3x per week. With consistency, noticeable results will be seen in about 6-12 months.
Exercises should encompass both light and heavy weight with high and moderate volume.
Emphasizing the negative and stretched portions of the rep is an effective training technique for this muscle group. This is where tempo training becomes important.
The concentric portion of the exercise should be pushed through the ball of the feet.
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For additional questions or more information related to blasting the calf muscles, contact the author.