If there’s one muscle group that creates the most serious amount of aggravation among bodybuilders, then it’s the calves. For a lot of people, getting the calves to grow is like discovering alpha as a trader: it’s a holy grail that’s elusive to the point of being almost mythical.
Seriously, there are some absolutely massive guys out there who just don’t have big calves and that’s not because they skip leg days! Even Arnie famously was ashamed of his calves at one point: so ashamed that he cut the bottoms of his trousers off to expose them to the world and to force himself to fix the issue.
Now I know what you’re thinking: you can’t afford to cut all your trousers up. Well good news, that’s not what I’m about to suggest! Instead, follow these three tips from ScottHermanFitness that will completely change your fortunes in this frustrating area…
Mind Muscle Connection
Scott talks a lot about the mind-muscle connection which sounds like nonsense but is actually a very important (and logical) aspect of your training.
All your ‘mind muscle connection’ is, is the amount of attention that you’re giving your training. In other words, are you just ‘going through the motions’ or are you really focussing on which muscles you’re working out and making sure that they’re really working. Are you contracting through each repetition and are you making sure that it’s the right muscles doing the work?
Because if you’re not, then you might not really be working your calves as efficiently as you could be. It’s very easy to just let your legs bob up and down but that’s not really going to get you the results you want. Especially because you’re probably then making the following two mistakes as well…
Range of Motion
If you’re performing calf raises on a flat floor, then you’re not taking advantage of the dip and you’re not going through your full range of motion. This is a problem though, as an awful lot of lifters do indeed perform calf raises with a dumbbell resting on their knee, straight off of flat ground. Your calf actually moves much further than this and if that’s all you’re training then you’re missing out half the mass that makes up the muscle. Take some weights and step on top of them and make sure your heel is dipping as far as it comfortably can beyond your toes.
Another issue is that a lot of people use the wrong weight. Simply, they use too much weight and this then means they end up just bouncing through the move. This is quite good for building explosive strength but it doesn’t provide the time under tension to create microtears or build up metabolites. The result? No growth! So lower than weight and start working with an amount you can handle comfortably.
Now move slowly and deliberately through the full range of motion while contracting the calves and making sure they’re working. These small differences will make a massive difference to your calf size.