We swing the muscles of the lower leg
And if the task of pumping up calves is unlikely to seem significant to a novice bodybuilder, then it will certainly arouse interest among his more experienced colleagues.
Indeed, the lion’s share of those involved in the gym are much more interested in the opportunity to pump up large chest and biceps, those who are more experienced already “look” towards the press, back and lats, and only a few, as a rule, the most experienced, discuss issues related to pumping leg muscles . And it is in these conversations that the calf muscles take center stage.
But before moving on to the features of pumping the legs, it is necessary to get to know its muscular structure better.
The lower leg consists of three muscle groups — anterior, posterior and external. The muscles that make up the anterior and outer groups are small, so in our case they simply should not be taken into account. In turn, the posterior muscle group (it is also called the triceps muscle) consists of the two largest muscles of the lower leg — soleus and gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius muscle, consisting of 2 heads, covers the entire back surface of the lower leg. This is what you see when you look at the back of your lower leg. You will not be able to see the soleus muscle, since it is located on the back surface of the bones of the lower leg and is covered by the gastrocnemius muscle. But, despite its «invisibility», it equally with the calf muscle determines the muscle volume of the lower leg.
How to pump up the muscles of the lower leg?
Anatomically, the muscles of the lower leg are adapted to long-term physical exertion, so you can spend at least the whole day “on your feet”. This is due to the fact that most of the muscle fibers of the lower leg are of the first type, they are also called «endurance» fibers. This type of fibers has a low potential for growth, but they can not get tired for a very long time during various aerobic activities (running, walking, daily activities, etc.). So the only way to stimulate growth is to push them to failure. As for rest and recovery after such a workout, keep in mind that it must be long enough (this is very individual) to cause not only supercompensation in the muscles, but even some detraining. This is necessary so that the calf muscles cannot gradually adapt to such loads.
Also don’t forget about:
Amplitude — the larger it is, the stronger the load on the muscles. You can even additionally stretch the calf muscles with the help of small weights, this also contributes to their further growth.
Load variability — the muscles of the lower leg «get used» to the load, after which the effectiveness of the training decreases. Therefore, try to vary not only the exercises, but also the order in which they are performed, as well as the number of sets and repetitions in them.
We offer you a set of the most effective exercises for the calf muscles:
- Standing calf raises.
- «Donkey» lifts (ups on socks with a partner sitting on the back).
- Rises on socks while sitting in the simulator.
- Raises on socks standing on one leg.
- Calf raises on the leg press machine.
When doing calf raises, change the position of your feet. This will allow you to load the calf muscles around the entire circumference of the lower leg.
Try to reduce the rest time between sets (no more than 30-45 seconds) compared to exercises for other muscle groups.
At the end of each set, pause for a few seconds, achieving maximum muscle tension.
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