Hello and welcome to Muscle Talk. The calves are a pretty important in terms of functionality. We walk all day every day, and enclosed within the lower leg are the muscles that are responsible for dorsiflexion, and plantarflexion of the foot. These muscle contractions are essentially what make the foot ‘walk’. There are three compartments that make up the calf muscles, and they are the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments. All of which are important, however we typically only train the two contained within the posterior compartment, and they are the soleus, and the gastrocnemius.
We all know calf raises are the bread and butter of calf development, but most are inclined to use the calf raise machine. An alternative is to do them with a barbell as if you are squatting. You can use a plate under each toe to increase the range of motion. Load the bar with an adequate weight to complete your sets. For most I suggest three sets of 10 reps apiece. Another method is to load the bar with a weight you can complete at least 30 reps with, and this method will absolutely force your calves to grow. We must constantly force the body out of its comfort zone for it to grow, and if you half ass your calf routine efforts, you can expect half the results as well.
I’m not a big fan of machines, and the calf raise machine is no exception. If you must use it I suggest making sure that each rep is completed with a full range of motion. Lift the weight approximately 80 percent of the way up, then explode for the last 20 percent. We want to lift fast to stimulate the fast twitch muscles in the gastrocnemius. When we do that we automatically increase the size of the gastrocnemius as fast twitch fibers are bigger than slow twitch fibers.
The last exercise I have for you is the farmers walk on your toes. I rarely see many farmers walks, let alone up on the toes. This is a great exercise for improving posture as well as you are forced to keep your chest up, and shoulders back. Another reason to complete this exercise is because it will tax your cardio vascular system. Aside from those two reasons, the farmers walk on the toes effectively targets the posterior compartment of the calf. Try doing it for time instead of steps. Start with 30 seconds and then adjust accordingly to improve on your overall duration.