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Pump Up Your Calf Muscles Today Training Database Bodybuilding Articles Pump Up Your Calf Muscles Today

It makes you wonder how they did it in the old days.

It makes you wonder how they did it in the old days.

We’re not exactly talking the ‘60s and ‘70s, here. Rather, we were contemplating how the men in the days of rawhide shorts and leopard skin tank tops pumped up those calf muscles while training for the annual Bedrock All-Natural.

Did they husk their wives and children on their shoulders, providing for the ultimate resistance as they transported them via piggy-back throughout the wild jungles? Or did they haul those two-ton boulders up the rigorous hills to build the foundation for that four-bedroom luxury pad?

Regardless, the point is simple. Back in the Stone Age, those stingy cylinders south of the knees were no less cooperative in shaping and molding than they are today.

Fortunately, hundreds of years later, we have been graced with the technological benefits of devices like Nautilus machines, leg press machines, and seated calf machines. And guess what? Calves are still as stubborn as Barney Rubble on a grumpy day.

Nonetheless, here are a few of the “bedrock” calf building exercises to try if you’re interested in turning those elusive phantom muscles into bulging, granite stones.

STANDING CALF RAISES: Place your feet on the platform so the balls are flush on the edge. Be sure not to put too much or too little of your feet on the platform. Slowly raise your heels, rotating the balls of your feet along the platform, until you are on the tips of your toes. Hold and squeeze your calves for two seconds, feeling the contraction, then slowly allow your heels to drop down slightly below the edge of the platform. Repeat the process. Try two-three hard sets of 15-20 reps at a tolerable weight.

SEATED CALF RAISES: This exercise is identical in range of motion to the standing version. The main difference is that your knees are bent in this exercise, emphasizing the soleus muscle as opposed to the gastroc muscle (which is stressed in the standing calf raises). Rotate the balls of your feet on the platform, lifting the heels as high as you can, squeezing the calves for a two-count during the contraction. Slowly lower you heels and repeat the motion for 15-20 repetitions through two-three vigorous sets.

LEG PRESS CALF RAISES: Place your feet on the platform, locking your knees, so that only the balls and the toes are on the platform. Your heels should be beneath the platform. Make sure your feet are parallel to one another and not making a V-shape on the platform. If need be, place your toes just slightly outward. However, keep your feet only a couple of inches apart. Slowly rotate the balls of your feet, lifting the weight with your toes until your calves are contracted. Squeeze for a moment then slowly lower your heels before repeating the movement. Finish off with two or three sets of 12-15 repetitions.

For an interesting high-intensity variation, try a Giant Set using all three of the exercises listed below. Begin by banging out as many strict form standing calf raises as you can, move immediately to seated calf raises (you’ll need to have the weights set up and ready to go), and complete the Giant Set by doing leg press calf raises until you can’t do no more. Take a break and repeat the Giant Set one final time!

Most importantly, remember that the best remedy to a troubling muscle group is variation and persistence. If your legs seem like they drop straight from the back of your knees down to your heels like a freight elevator ­ with no stops in between ­ don’t be discouraged. You’re not alone.

Calves are a lot like snails. It seems like they’re constantly hiding in their shells. Of course, it just takes the proper goodies, the winning form, and that positive, uplifting attitude to ultimately lure them out.

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Take care,

Matt Canning

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