Add Shape To Your Calves

Look great in shorts, skirts & heels

We rarely look at calves as traditional “problem areas,” but we sure do notice a nice set of calves when we see one. Is it just genetics…or is it something more? Genetics will most definitely play a part in the shape of your calves, but you can absolutely work toward building their size and strength!

The calves are a complex muscle, but you should be mainly concerned with the Gastrocnemius (Gastroc) and the Soleus. The Gastroc gets more stimulation during standing calf exercises where your knees are extended (not bent). The Soleus is the smaller muscle and hides below the Gastroc. It gets more stimulation during bent-leg exercises and responds well to slow-twitch endurance and high reps.

As a general rule with all of my training, I always put a priority on any muscle group that is lagging. If your calves are not as developed as they should be, it’s time to dedicate a couple (or more) days per week to them, hitting all the angles and working to failure.

I love the way my legs look in shorts and heels with great calves, but…good luck trying to squeeze into your skinny jeans once you start making gains!

Add Shape To Your Calves - Look great in shorts, skirts & heels

Get Creative

Just because there are two dedicated calf machines at the gym (sitting and standing), doesn’t mean those are your only two options. You MUST get creative and think outside the box in order to hit all the angles and activate the entire calf.

You want volume when it comes to training calves, so lower the weight, increase the reps, vary the exercises and get busy!

The Workouts

Tip: I like to take my shoes off during my calf exercises in order to get a full range of motion and really focus on each muscle, including all the smaller, very important stabilizers.

These workouts are designed to have at least 2-3 days recovery between them. You can include them in your leg workout or add them to any other muscle group. If you add them to other muscle groups, be cautious not to go into other leg workouts with your calves being sore. Don’t forget that exercises such as sprinting, hill climbs, sand running, biking and jumping rope all contribute to calf training!

Add Shape To Your Calves - Look great in shorts, skirts & heels

Calf workout 1:

Seated calf raise
6 sets 12-15 reps

* rotate toes approximately 2” (more is not necessary) inward and outward, in addition to straight forward each set.

Calf raise in leg press – narrow (feet 2-3” apart)
3 sets 20 reps

* squeeze fully at the top for 1-2 seconds and lower the weight slowly

Standing calf raise
6 sets 12-15 reps

* rotate toes approximately 2” (more is not necessary) inward and outward, in addition to straight forward each set

Calf workout 2:

Calf raise in leg press – neutral (feet hip-width apart)
3 sets 20 reps

* squeeze fully at the top for 1-2 seconds and lower the weight slowly

Donkey calf raise
3 sets 12-15 reps

* bend at the waist and grasp a sturdy object that is hip-height. The best way to add weight to this exercise is to ask your workout partner to sit on your back for you during this! Your gym may also have a Donkey Calf Raise Machine.

Single-leg standing calf raise (holding dumbbells)
3 sets 20 reps each leg

* stand on an elevated surface so you can still achieve a good range of motion

Jessie Hilgenberg

Jessie is an IFBB Figure Pro, Team NLA for Her & Bodybuilding.com Athlete, registered yoga instructor, health & fitness coach, bootcamp director and fitness model. Her goal is to inspire others and illustrate that a healthy lifestyle of training with intensity, staying consistent and eating clean can truly change your life!

Find more of Jessie on:

www.jessiefitness.com
jessiefit.com/jessbodyspace
Facebook.com/jessiefitness
Instagram.com/jesshilgenberg
Twitter.com/jesshilgenberg
YouTube.com/jesshilgenberg

©2017 Advanced Research Media. Long Island Web Design