5 Calf Training Tips for Mass
Calves are often overlooked in workouts. Most men and women focus on exercises that burn fat or activate muscles in their arms, stomach, glutes, and thighs, and that’s about it. What happens next is that muscle mass on calves is quite weak. This leads to a common problem where a person has a well-sculpted body and slim calf muscles.
You can change this with simple tips and tricks from this article. Whether you want to modify your workout routine for bigger calves or you want to increase the strength and mass of naturally thin calves, you’re at the right place. Scroll down to learn more.
1. Modify Your Workout:
Not every type of training or exercise is equally good for calf mass. The key here is to modify your workout and introduce exercises and activities that target calves specifically. Saying you should focus on cardio only or strength training primarily would be wrong. The reality is that a combination of cardio and bodyweight exercises and other calf-strengthening manoeuvres and activities will work the best.
For example, some of the best calf-strengthening activities include running, walking, and hiking. These activities are particularly useful if you’re going uphill. They build endurance and strength, everything your calves need to go bigger. Generally speaking, the steeper the climb, the more your calves have to work.
Running sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and tennis are great for toning your calves, too. These activities demand that you run, jump, or push off the calves to change direction or accelerate.
While a low-impact activity, swimming is a great option for men and women who want to increase calf mass. Swimming works your legs, including calves, strengthens those muscles, but also may prevent injuries.
In addition to these activities, calf training should also include exercises such as:
- Standing calf raise
- Seated calf raise
- Farmer’s walk on toes, a variation of farmer’s wall exercise
- Jump rope
- Dumbbell jump squat
- Downward dog
- Straight-leg calf stretch against the wall
- Standing wall calf stretch
- Single-leg calf raises
2. Learn How Much Exercise To Do:
Modified workouts are crucial for bigger and stronger calf muscles, but how much exercise is necessary? Regular performance is vital. To build strength, you need to be consistent and strive to do your exercises two to three times a week. This is just a general recommendation. The exact amount of exercise depends on you, your fitness levels, and the types of exercises you do.
For strength training exercises, you may want to aim for eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise in one to three sets. Despite fatigue, you should be able to complete these workouts successfully. For the best effects, you may want to gradually increase the load on your calves by adding 10% to 15% to the weight every two weeks.
A more advanced schedule for persons who want to see results as quickly as possible would include four sets twice a week for the first few weeks. Then, you'd be able to increase the number of sets up to twelve sets twice a week. The advanced schedule of reps and sets would account for a period of six months, during which you should do your exercises this way.
3. Your Diet Matters Too:
Muscle growth needs regular exercise, but you also need to make changes in your nutrition. Your body still requires various nutrients to stay healthy. Many people make a mistake here and decrease calorie intake, but you shouldn’t do that.
Your goal here is to increase the mass of calf muscle, so you need to maintain a balanced diet consisting of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. Instead of protein shakes, which can be practical, you may want to increase your intake of protein-rich foods such as eggs, turkey and chicken breast, salmon and tuna, lean meats.
About 30% to 35% of daily calorie intake should come from protein, 55-60% from carbohydrates, and 15-20% from healthy fats.
4. Use a Full Range of Motion
Isn't it weird how we use calves pretty much every day, and somehow they don't respond like other muscles to the exercise? This happens because although we use calves all the time, we fail to use them in their full range of motion. As a result, these muscles lack the flexibility necessary for achieving their full potential.
To build up the mass of your calves, you need to work this muscle through a full range of motion. You can do so by stretching up on the big toes when exercising. Continue to stretch these muscles on a regular basis to make them more flexible.
5. You Need Proper Recovery
Nutrition and exercise are among the most important factors in muscle growth, but not the only ones. The quality of your recovery process can make or break your effort to have bigger calf muscles. What many people don’t know is that rest is vital for muscle growth. Exercise can create microscopic tears in the muscle tissue, but fibroblasts cells repair the damage when you're relaxing. As a result, the tissue heals and grows, thereby strengthening your calves.
Recovery, i.e., rest days from exercise, also prevents muscle fatigue. After all, exercise can deplete a person's glycogen levels. If you fail to replace depleted glycogen, you may experience soreness and muscle fatigue.
Even when you’re not exercising, your muscles need glycogen to function.
Proper recovery can also improve your athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Calf muscles have been overlooked completely in many workout plans. Some people, however, may have weak and thin calves naturally. To increase the size of calf mass, you need to modify your routine and include calf-strengthening exercises, adjust your nutrition, and focus on proper recovery. Like with other muscle groups, calves are all about hard work and good rest. You may want to seek professional help if you believe you don’t know what would work for you or not.