Powerfully built legs are not only large thighs and well-rounded butt. Many people forget that calf muscles also require their place in the training program. What calf exercises should be included in the training plan?
Calf exercises – a few words about the anatomy
The rear group of shin muscles is commonly referred to as the calf, which consists of three smaller muscle structures: gastrocnemius, soleus and plantaris. It is also worth mentioning that the first two muscles are specifically called the triceps, and they are the main part of the muscle mass of this body part. In the case of the calves there is a significant predominance of red muscle fibres, which are mainly responsible for strength. This plays an important role during training.
From a functional point of view, the calf is responsible for the sole flexion of the foot and also indirectly influences the knee joint flexion. Therefore, it is easy to guess that the calves play an extremely important role in running, jumping and normal walking. What is more, the activity of the muscles in this group is also felt, e.g. while maintaining a standing position.
What calf exercises should you do in the gym?
The aforementioned predominance of red muscle fibres in the calves is important information when creating a training plan. The large number of red fibres will require a considerable number of repetitions, which can only stimulate growth processes in these areas. Some trainers and professional athletes mention that calf training should be done in four sets of 25 to 50 repetitions per set! Of course everyone should choose the frequency according to their individual abilities and goals – but this example is a good illustration of the enormous amount of work that has to be put into the calf muscle development.
While training in the gym, you can perform exercises in the form of a supplement to leg training and an addition to the other areas of this body part or treat the calves as a completely separate training unit. Which exercises should be included in the training plan?
- donkey calf raises
- standing calf raises
- sitting calf raises
As you can see, calf exercises are a simple movement. While in the gym, you can add variety to your calf training using additional loads (e.g. a plate, dumbbells or Kettlebells) or using professional machines (e.g. Smith machine or isolation exercise equipment).
Can calf training be done at home?
Lack of equipment should not be an excuse to skip calf training! A few thick books will allow you to prepare a makeshift platform and a backpack filled with water bottles will make up for the lack of dumbbells or barbells. Each exercise can be carried out by engaging both calves simultaneously or individually. The more variety, the better the conditions for muscle development!