Those muscles wrapped around your shin are a mystery wrapped in an enigma when it comes to training. Do they grow according to genetics or training stimulus? And if training does make all the difference, what kind of training are we talking about? Heavy weight for low reps, or lighter weight for high reps?
Power-walking soccer moms would sport monster calves if repetitive motion were the key. You need to hit ’em hard.
Arnold, who ruined the elastic in his fair share of tube socks in the 70s, put it this way: “Every day you walk around. When you walk you are using your calves. You are pushing at least your body weight every time you take a step. So, when you go to the gym and work out your calves with light weight, are you really stressing your muscles?”
Arnold put his calves through the ringer. He would perform all types of calf raises until he couldn’t fully extend the muscle. Then, he would perform little bursts until the muscle finally couldn’t move or extend, rendering his foot practically useless at the time after training. This method contributed to him becoming arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all time.
I take a similarly aggressive approach to raising calves. Your calves will not grow unless you absolutely DESTROY them! So I’m going to ask you to tack 10-to-12 sets of calf work onto the end of 4 or 5 workouts a week. (If that’s too many sets at first, start at 5 and then build up to 12.) Each set should be 30 reps: 10 reps with toes pointed out, 10 reps with toes pointed in, 10 reps with toes pointed forward. No matter what calf move you’re doing, switch it up like this.
The calves need this smack-down. Their strength should be commensurate with the strength of your quads and hamstrings. A weak link between your bigger legs muscles and the ground will limit performance and perhaps cause injury.
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