If you want to have an impressive set of legs, you have to look below the knee. Building bigger, stronger calf muscles can be tough, however, the task is certainly not impossible. When looking to build bigger calves, you need to attack them often with higher training volumes, frequencies, and a variety of rep ranges to optimally develop the muscles that make up the lower leg.
Strong calves are not just an aesthetic feat, either. They are often responsible for or aid in increased jump height, sprinting capability, and overall lower body explosiveness.
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In this article we will discuss the calf raise, and how to incorporate it into your lower body training to build bigger, stronger, more performance-oriented legs.
How to Do the Calf Raise
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to perform the calf raise. While there are a few different calf raise variations, this guide will discuss the standing calf raise, which can be done with bodyweight, various types of free weights, or in a Smith machine.
Step 1 — Hang Your Heels
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Start by standing on the edge of a stable surface such as a step, block of wood, or anything that is a few inches tall. You want to have your heels able to hang off the edge to allow you to go into a deep calf stretch by flexing your ankle.
Coach’s Tip: The key to a good calf raise is to train in the full range of motion and to get a deep stretch on the muscle.
Step 2 — Stretch and Contract
Stand upright with your foot on the edge of the step or surface, and go into a deep calf stretch while holding a weight. Keep your knee extended. Push through your toes to lift the heels upwards, going into full plantar flexion of the ankle joint. Hold yourself in the top position for a second, focusing on strong muscle contraction, then lower yourself slowly under control.
Coach’s Tip: Prioritize the full stretch and contraction at the top of the raise. Tension and contraction are key in the calf raise, and are more important than …….