Calf: strength training
Alison, a gym trainer, gives you the best tips and exercises for building calf muscles.
Under the sage advice of gym trainer Alison, we will give you the best tips and exercises for building muscle and leg coordination. Leg strength is often neglected in favor of other muscles. However, in addition to the aesthetic aspect, having strong and muscular legs has many advantages. Here we present different exercises to build calf muscles perfectly, for men or women.
Advice from Alison, an athletic trainer
To help you tighten your calf muscles, we asked Allison, a gym trainer of 6 years, to give us some tips. Alison, 31, a BPJEPS AGFF graduate, started service delivery company Nosila Fitness. A mother of a young child, she works primarily as a personal trainer for individuals and occasionally intervenes in companies and organizations where she imparts her knowledge. In particular, she created programs for
the free Decathlon Coach app.. A former gymnast and boxer, she is passionate about CrossFit and travel... Today help us shape and build your leg muscles! And that's fine, Alison is famous, in her entourage, for having super muscle. It must have been thanks to his many toes from an early age. Looks like we chose our coach well. ;)
Develop your calves
The calf is a fleshy area located at the back of the leg, between the back of the knee and the ankle. The calf, or triceps, is a muscle made up of 3 muscle bundles that make up the Achilles tendon in the lower leg. Jumping rope regularly is enough to strengthen it, but you also have to remember to maintain your stretching abilities. You should know that the calf is definitely the hardest muscle to flex. The muscles of the legs can be worked at home without equipment, provided that you stretch well.
Why build your calves?
The usefulness of calves in sports is often underestimated. Not many realize how extremely useful it can be, when it is constant!
Here are the various advantages of calf muscle training:
✓ Avoid injuries during exercise. Calves have a real heart function. They avoid muscle cramps, swelling or even the appearance of varicose veins (at the latest the better!). When doing some sports, such as sprinting, it is the calves that carry more than 10 times their body weight - that's crazy! During jumping exercises, they stabilize the knees and protect the joints. If they lack training, they may have a real difficulty carrying this load and get injured more easily.
✓ Increased payment function. This means that it will allow you to perform stronger and faster movements. For example, it will be easier for you to perform squat jumps or high jumps.
✓ Improve your running performance, so you finish first at the end ;) The calves control the gesture that consists of pointing the sole of the foot down, which is essential in running.
Building the leg muscles clearly affects the movement of the ankle and knee. The calf has a stabilizing function. It is important to warm it well to avoid cramps. The work of the agonist and antagonist muscles allows you to maintain balance in order to avoid back pain.
✓ For athletes, the calf muscles allow you to gain strength. Boxing, athletics, gymnastics, and running are sports that put a lot of pressure on the calves.
How to build your calf at home?
What is the best calf exercise?
In fact, there is only one! The calf is a muscle that is often visible, especially in the summer or at the gym. We often like them sharp, toned, and graceful. It is important to work on it because the calf muscles act like a true heart pump by allowing good venous return. Of course, calves are used when walking or running. But there are many exercises that can shape and shape. here they are …
Jumping rope is an accessible physical activity that requires little space and is incredibly inexpensive. It includes and develops the muscles of the arms and legs, especially the leg muscles, and improves aerobic capacity, cardiovascular function, metabolism and sense of balance. To jump rope well, keep the rope tight with quick flicks of the wrists while jumping, tightening the abs.
To avoid pain, keep your pelvis well sheathed and shoulders relaxed. You can add variations such as jumping several times with the left leg and then the right leg, with the same number of jumps on each side. Rotation allows for a more defined and therefore more effective action on each leg. This is the best way to improve a potential imbalance.
The type of weighted jump rope depends on your height: To select it, put your feet together on the rope and pull the two handles up. When the rope is pulled up, the handles should ideally reach the level of the armpit. For women, a bra or sports bra will help maintain the breasts. For shoes, prefer the pair that prefers stability and stability over cushioning. Finally, weighted ankle supports make the exercise more complex and increase the muscular workload.
Allison recommends practicing it for 10 minutes to get started. If you don't have a rope handy, jump right in, and imagine the rope spinning under your feet. ;)
Lifting the heels / raising the toes
This exercise helps to strengthen the calf muscles easily. Advantage: You can practice it everywhere! Even while brushing your teeth, if you're running after time. ;) Stand, put your heels under your hips, tighten your abdominals, raise your heels as you grow toward the ceiling. You can add variety by holding weights in your hands and even going down stairs if you have one.
Allison recommends 6-8 sets of 20 reps. For optimum efficiency, it is interesting to perform this exercise two to three times a week.
Another heel lift for a calf muscle exercise: the chair.
Keep your back straight against the wall, position yourself as if you were sitting in a chair. Knees bent at right angles, feet shoulder width apart, toes in line with the knees and the belly strap well clenched. You can start the exercise by lifting one heel and then the other, then finish on your tiptoes and stay in the sheath for a few seconds.
The famous squat
The squat movement primarily works the thighs and glutes. It is also an excellent exercise for pumping calves. Squats reduce the risk of serious injuries: the intense work of the muscles of the lower body, as well as the girdle of the abdomen and back strengthens posture and balance as well as the flexibility and mobility of your joints. To focus on the calves, prefer this alternative: descend into a wide squat position in the middle of the rise, blocking the squat on the way down. While blocking, take the heel off low, alternating between the right heel and the left heel.
Allison recommends 6-8 sets of 20 reps here too, 10 on the right side and then 10 on the left side.
How to strengthen your calf in the weight room?
Seated Calf Extension / Seated Sole (with Portable / Guided Machine)
You sit, the load above your thighs. The height of the heel will allow you to directly tighten the calf muscles. Very simple and effective exercise! This bodybuilding exercise engages the sole, a powerful leg muscle that allows the foot to be extended. The sole and lateral fibula are primarily requested by this exercise but twins (inner and outer) are also involved.
Alison recommends 6-8 sets of 10 reps at a medium to heavy load (medium++)
Calf raises squat
Sit on the calf machine, the distance between the feet should be approximately equal to the width of the pelvis, the back is straight or slightly arched, the sausages set on the trapezius. This involves bending the knees. Inhale your way down and exhale your way up. The squat remains very close to the classic squat, but it doesn't put a lot of pressure on your back. Be careful, the exercise requires the knee joint. Alison recommends that you precede her with several sets of seated leg extensions and lying leg rolls.
If pain occurs, feel free to reduce the amplitude of the flexion of your knee so that you can perform the movement without pain.
Unlike standard models, the stepper of the mini version has a separate function: it not only allows you to lose weight and do cardio, but sculpts and tightens the lower limbs and especially the calves. The stepper exercise works hard on the calves. If you want to emphasize the latter in particular, just use the front of the feet when performing the move.
Smith Machine guide bar squat cage
It's an essential piece of weight training equipment in your routine. The Smith machine, thanks to its oriented band, offers many exercises that will help you strengthen many muscles. The squat stand allows you to do calf extensions.
Alison's tip: Cover your calf well with a compression wrap to preserve muscle and aid in the effort. This will prevent a potential unintended injury, such as periostitis (pain in front of the tibia and to the sides, inflammation, common in runners).
We recommend doing some stretching the day after your gym session, preferably if you want to avoid potential pain. The first stretching exercise, the sit-up exercise: you are sitting, your legs are stretched forward, your foot is towards the ceiling, with your hands, you come to pick up the tips of your feet. Second, you stand with a slight flexion of the back leg, straighten the front leg, raise your toes and support the bent leg.
Does he shoot? This is normal ;) For more flexible people, try the flexible foot variant.
Do calves differently
You should also know that there is electrical activation of the calves. It causes the muscles to contract thanks to the electric current through an electrode. So the muscle in question will work, but the heart is no more than usual, the same for the tendons. This electrical stimulation can have several goals: restoring muscle volume after a period of immobilization; Accelerate physical readiness or recovery and gain muscle strength or relieve cramps.
Working and developing the calf muscles thanks to these different exercises will help protect your joints and increase your strength in vertical jumping, which is very useful in different sports. A pair of strong calves you need to perform at your best. :-) Always remember to hydrate yourself and listen to your body, sports should still be a real pleasure. Give your best and listen to yourself!