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Calf Training in the Gym: Everything You Need to Know

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If for the vast majority the legs are one of the parts that is least taken into account when training in the gym, the calves still take a worse part in this distribution of training. On this occasion we want to highlight how important it is to work this part of the body, and to do so we are going to review some considerations and exercises that will help us work this area .

The calves , although we do not take it into account, are muscles that are very important when it comes to achieving good power in the legs . For this reason, it is necessary that we always have them, since toning and strengthening them will help us achieve stronger and more powerful legs in general. The calves are made up of two muscles to take into account, the soleus and the gastrocnemius.

Calf Training in the Gym.

Twin morphology.

First of all, it is necessary that we know the morphology of this muscle group. What is known as the gastrocnemius is actually two muscles, the soleus and the gastrocnemius . Both muscles must be trained through certain exercises, but if what we are looking for is a more aesthetic result, the one that is usually worked the most is the gastrocnemius.

The soleus is the muscle found in the innermost part of the gastrocnemius and is responsible for stabilizing this part of the leg. The gastrocnemius, on the other hand, is located in the outermost part of the calf and serves to perform, for example, knee flexion and relieve the tension that is generated or can be generated in this joint. Calf training will vary depending on what we want to achieve and the part of them we want to work on.

Methodology to train the calves.

There is a lot of ignorance in the vast majority of us regarding twin work. For this reason, it is necessary that before recommending some exercises, we know a little more about what we are going to find and the methodology for strong and well-trained calves.

As we mentioned previously, this muscle group is made up of two muscles. Therefore, depending on the type of training we carry out, we will work on one or the other. For example, the soleus is worked with a low load and high repetitions . While the gastrocnemius is done with a high load and low repetitions.

Be careful with the Achilles tendon.

In all the exercises and movements that we are going to carry out, it is important to be careful with the Achilles tendon , since by performing a movement that is too long and generating rebound, we will be diverting all the tension to the tendon, and thereby exposing this part too much to the exercise and the overload that can be generated.

To prevent the tendon from being overloaded, the way to train is to perform an explosive positive phase. When we complete the route we will stop for a second, maintaining the tension, to perform a slower negative phase to avoid rebound. Furthermore, what we will do when we return to the starting point is stop for about two seconds when completing the movement, to reset and do it again. It is important to take care of the Achilles tendon, as we can overload it and hurt ourselves if we do not pay attention to it.

With these instructions we will be able to work the muscles much better without involving the Achilles tendon . In addition, it is necessary to know that to work the gastrocnemius it is more advisable to do it through exercises in which the legs remain stretched, while to do it with the soleus the legs will be kept flexed.

Exercises to train the calves.

To achieve a good state of both muscles, what we will do are different exercises that we will review. In this case we are going to focus on simple exercises that we must include in our leg training routine.

Foot calf extensions on machine.

First of all, we are going to stop at an exercise focused on the work of the gastrocnemius. These are machine-held calf extensions . To do this we need a machine that applies load to our body on the shoulders. In this machine we will stand with our body straight and our feet supported on the platform only by the tips, keeping the rest of the foot in the air.All calf exercises are based on extensions by raising and lowering the feet resting on the toes and focusing on the calf part.

In this position we must take into account that the feet need movement to be able to rise and descend . While doing this route we should not arch our back or bend our knees. It is important to keep the body straight and elevate it simply through the action of the calf muscles.

Specifically, those that will be most involved will be the gastrocnemius , so it is important to rise quickly and explosively to descend slowly, stop and perform the movement again. In this way we will concentrate the tension in the muscles and avoid diverting it to the Achilles tendon.

This movement is the basis of calf training. What will change the results and incidence of training will be the angle and placement of the legs. There is no better way to work the calves, we just need to know how to do it to achieve the best results.

Leg press extensions.

We can do this same exercise in the leg press . To do this we will sit in the thinking machine. We will keep our legs fully stretched and our feet resting on tiptoe to perform the lifting and lowering movement. The variation of the angle and the device used for the load will determine the impact on one muscle or another of our calves.

This is the same movement that we described previously, only this time the load will be the press itself and we will work in the same way on the outermost part of the calf, that is, the gastrocnemius.

Lifts on a step.

Another variation of this same exercise can be performing lifts on a step with the weight of a partner on top of us. The mechanics are the same, except that we will use the step to generate the ascent and descent path and our partner as an additional load.

Multipower lifts.

We can do something similar in the multipower , since in this case the load will be the weight that we will place on the bar. As in the calf machine described first, the multipower will be the load that we will place on the shoulders.

In this case, since there is no platform in the multipower, we will place a step to place the feet supported by the toes and thus be able to carry out the movement of ascent and descent that is the basis of calf training, since it is the only way to put the muscles that make up this part of the leg to work.

Seated Twins Machine.

Lastly, for the soleus work, we will carry out exercises with the same movement as those described above, only what will vary in this case is the angle of flexion of the knee . To influence the soleus we must not keep our legs straight, but rather it is necessary to bend the knee. In this way the gastrocnemius will not come into action and it will only be the soleus that will work. Performing calf exercises with a greater knee angle will help us directly work the soleus part

One way to do it is on the calf machine where we must sit to execute the movement . The machine will force us to sit and bend our knee, but the movement will be the same as we have described in the previous cases. We will simply raise the load by flexion of the calves, only this time the legs will not be stretched.

With this exercise the mechanics will be the same as what we have described previously in all the exercises, but the tension will be concentrated in the soleus , and with it in the work of the innermost part of the calves. Specifically in the muscles responsible for stabilizing this part of the body.

Be that as it may, we have different alternatives at our disposal to achieve calves in perfect condition, with strong and stable muscles. Working the calf muscles will help us achieve better-formed calves. But the thing not only stops there, but also strengthening them will help us achieve a stronger and more stable knee, thus avoiding injuries and damage that we can suffer in this part.

For this reason, it is necessary that from now on we think about this part of the body that we have not noticed as much as others. Strengthening the area will help us achieve better and stronger legs, since toned and well-worked calves will influence the entire legs .

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