Leg day at the gym can be very tiring and hard because strengthening your leg muscles needs a lot of work. The first thing that you think of on a leg day is exercises like quads, hamstrings, and glutes because usually, people go for these. If your way of exercise is not to target a whole body part but to target a set of muscles, you might not do a full leg day because you will be needing some exercises to especially focus on a certain muscle. Today, we will be talking about the calf exercises and make them strong just like all the guys in the gym have.
People usually easily forget about calves while working out to gain muscles but they must be focussed on. On a leg day, you will not find time after all the squats and leg lifts to work on your calves. When you spend good time and energy on your calves, it visually appears and anyone can tell how much work you are putting into your leg exercises. Calf strengthening exercises must get attention because they are the forearms of your lower body. Imagine enjoying your summers in shorts and showing off your visual gauges to the world.
You can’t ignore how much calf muscle exercises influence your sport’s performance. If you are a football player, basketball player, or a runner, you would know how your leaping and sprinting abilities are improved with calf exercises. That is the reason why you need to add calf exercices in your workout plan.
The Anatomy of Your Calf Muscles
So here is the simple anatomy of your calf muscles to give you an idea of how these calf exercises work. There are two main powerful muscles in your calves, the gastrocnemius, and the soleus.
The gastrocnemius is the larger muscle in the front of your calf. It is a large body muscle, but certainly not the largest. The soleus on the other hand is a deep muscle. It is located under the gastrocnemius muscle. These muscles help you flex your ankle by working simultaneously. The gastrocnemius is involved in flexing your knee. When it comes to the visual treat, the gastrocnemius is the one that catches the most eyes, but if you focus on the soleus as well and develop it properly, it will also look larger and help in the function.
Best Calf Exercises To Incorporate In Your Leg Day
From all the exercises mentioned below, you can pick 2 to 3 calf exercises and perform them 3 to 4 times on a weekly basis. Calves perform high volume functions, they are the actual support in everyday walking, so you just train them properly. Here are the best calf exercises that you can try.
1. Standing Calf Raise
Out of all calf exercises, you can consider this one as the top move. A Smith machine can be very helpful in this exercise. Don’t forget to keep the weight on your shoulders and elevate the platform for your feet. You need to keep your glutes and core tight and don’t bend your knees. Now slowly lower your feet until it touches the ground. When it does, point your toes and press your body back up. Repeat it 10 to 25 times depending on your strength.
2. Explosive Calf Setup
While doing calf exercises, you can’t forget plyos and this is the way to do that. Keep one of your feet on a box or the gym bench and drive it off with power and jump onto the bench. Switch your feet between reps and perform a total of 10 to 25 repetitions.
3. Speed Ladder
We know how the speed ladder can be effective for agility and speed but it has as much effect on building your calf muscles. You can perform different speed ladder drills that can involve ladder box running with each of your feet and hopping. You can also involve Ickey shuffle to make things more effective for the calves. 3 to 4 sets of each speed ladder can be beneficial.
4. Static Neutral Hold
This is an exercise that will test your ankle mobility as well as calf strength. Take a small block and place the balls of your keep on it, hold on to support, and stand up placing all of your weight on your feet. Now flex your ankles after straightening your calves. Hold on for 45 seconds in the position and repeat 3 to 4 times.