We all want to grow them, yet most of us never get anywhere with them. But why is that?
For one, most people put them at the end of their workout, give them a couple of dull sets, and call it quits. You need to be consistent if you want to grow your calves.
But you also need functional exercises, proper form, and a full range of motion.
Today, we’ll take a look at the first requirement – good exercises. Here are the top two variations.
1. Standing Calf Raise
Your calves are made up of two muscles – the gastrocnemius and the soleus.
The gastrocnemius is the smaller muscle and has two heads. It also crosses two joints – your knee (originating on your femur) and ankle (inserts on your heel bone via the Achilles tendon). When doing a seated calf raise, your gastrocnemius is already shortened, making it impossible for you to contract it fully.
Meaning, to train it effectively, we need to include at least one standing calf raise variation.
Now, when it comes to biomechanics, pretty much all standing calf raises are the same. It comes down to your preference and ability.
Good options include Smith machine calf raises, machine calf raises, donkey calf raises, leg press calf raises, and unilateral dumbbell calf raises.
2. Seated Calf Raise
The soleus is the larger calf muscle, but it only crosses one joint – your ankle. It originates on the tibia (the bigger of your lower leg bones) and inserts on your heel bone via the Achilles tendon. Meaning, you can train it very effectively in a seated calf raise. And, seeing as it is the bigger of the two muscles, you absolutely should give it enough attention.
Here, you have one main option – the seated machine calf raise.
So, What’s The Bottom Line Here?
Calves are among the most straightforward muscles in your body. For proper development, make sure to include at least one standing calf raise variation, and one seated.