If you're looking for an effective body-building experience, or you're simply trying to build up your muscles so that you can excel in your chosen sport, you'll probably know just how difficult certain areas can be to target. A lot of young athletes spend their days dreaming about the perfect exercises for delivering stronger, healthier calves, but actually finding the right routine to make this dream come true is more challenging than you might think.
Few muscle groups are quite as complicated to work on as your calves, and a lack of progress after months of training could even be enough to convince you to give up completely. However, before you put your calves to pasture, keep in mind that some workout can be cured by overcoming a few simple exercise mistakes.
Mistake 1: Doing Calf Exercises Last
One of the most common calf exercise mistakes involves simply neglecting to give enough time and attention to the right muscles. If you spend all day at the gym lifting weights, strengthening your core, and building up your biceps, the chances are that you won't have much energy left for a kick-ass calf workout.
Just like any other muscles, your calves won't grow if you expose them to subpar training, and if you really want your calves to stand-out, you need to start training them the same way you training your back and chest - from every angle - and until you're completely exhausted.
Mistake 2: Limiting Yourself
Another of many common calf exercise mistakes comes from believing you have to stick to the same rep sets as you would for your chest or arms (10-15). When training your calves, you should never do less than 20 reps per set. Thigh higher range helps you to push the muscles slightly further, full contracting and stimulating new growth.
Although it's important that you don't push further than you can handle, lots of reps will help to ensure you build up mighty muscles fast.
Mistake 3: Over-training with Weights
Most athletes are under the impression that the only way to make calves grow is to train them using heavy weights. However, while weights can help to power your workout, if they're so heavy that you're struggling to finish a rep properly, you'll end up with fewer gains. A few good ways to determine whether you're using weights that are too heavy include:
You suffer from severe pain in your Achilles tendon or the arch of your foot.
You struggle to perform standing calf raises without bending your knees.
You feel significant pain in your shins even when using calf-sleeves to protect the muscles.
Your ankles are out of line with the rest of your leg during the rep.
Mistake 4: Improper Foot Placement
Finally, some of the most common calf exercise mistakes can apply to any form of exercise in that if you're not doing the movement right - you're not going to see results. Not knowing how to situate your body and place your feet during a workout not only puts you at greater risk of injury, but it also shifts the focus away from the muscle group you're trying to build.
Having your toes pointed too far outwards will prevent you from achieving the maximum level of activation in your calf muscles, while placing extreme stress on the connective tissues and ligaments around your knees and ankles. If you're not sure about your form, try asking a professional for help at your local gym, or check out an online video.