The 5 Best Functional Calf Exercises
Working out and building the body is a challenge! 💪
Trying to obtain and achieve a balance is very difficult, especially when you are dealing with muscles that seem to be stubborn and not want to grow.
Another issue with obtaining a balance with the body when it comes to building muscle is neglect. Sadly, certain muscle groups are neglected more than others in the gym.
When it comes to both neglect and even stubbornness of a muscle group, calves take the title. ☝️
Calves are a muscle group that require not only consistency, but intensity as well. Variation is important but making sure that you stick to what works for you is the best approach.
This may be only two different movements in which you should do more sets. Some people throw 3 or 4 different movements at their calves to get them to grow.
The following list is the top 5 calf exercises you can do to promote growth and overall total functionality of the ankle, and improve mobility and flexibility:
- Farmer Walks
This movement is awesome for more than just calves, but they are great for growing them! Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells which are a weight you can walk roughly 20 yards. When walking, emphasize on coming up on your tippy toes when you step to get the calves screaming. Going 3 or 4 rounds at walking 20 yards each round would be good.
Make sure, form wise, you are keeping your shoulders pulled back and torso neutral and stabilized. Remember, keep the weight appropriate so you can maintain near-perfect form.
- Seated Calf-Raises
This is a great movement for working the soleus, or the outer sweep of the calves. Find a weight that you can drop your heel down fully with complete stretch at the bottom of the movement and then come up on the ball of your feet with a short pause, do roughly 15 reps at 3 or 4 sets.
- Standing Calf-Raises
Maybe the oldest of the calf exercises, but also maybe the most effective. Either using simply your bodyweight or a conventional machine, make sure you are hitting a full range of motion in getting your heels down and getting up high on the balls of your feet, holding it for a second or two. Higher reps are always great for hitting calves, doing 3 to 5 sets with this movement.
- Donkey Calf Raises
Another old one, and also a little unorthodox, a donkey calf raise is very effective at stretching out and elongating the calves. By leaning over, that action stretches out the calves and hamstrings, putting the muscles in a constant stretched state. Adding extra weight to the back will only increase the resistance.
- Front Rack Barbell Carries
This is incredibly effective at promoting flexibility in the ankle and knee, improving the total functionality of the calf muscles. This will promote and full elongation, contraction and retraction of the muscle for great hypertrophy.
Once again, only load a barbell up only as heavy as you can confidently perform the movement without any additional muscles compensating for poor movement!
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