Calf muscles can be a small, but extremely resistant group of muscles that can drive crazy people who push for a perfect and proportional figure.

Why is it so difficult to change the appearance of the calves?

Genetic determinants have a great influence on the appearance of calves. Some people have long torsos, making their lower legs seem massive and even in thickness. Such a form is not for everyone, the problem involves slimming the calf down. Other people have so-called runner's calf, which is where the muscles have longer flexion, which makes the upper calf appear large, but not too impressive in the lower part of the lower leg. We will not change genetics, but thanks to the right combination of exercises involving tightening and stretching the muscles of the lower leg, we can slightly modify the shape of the calf.

Can you skip training the lower legs?

Of course. As long as you are satisfied with the appearance of your lower leg, are fit enough and you have no problem doing your favorite sports activity, you don't have to include calf exercises in your training plan. Lots of people don't, and they don't feel like it. The situation is similar with the muscles of the forearms - this is also not a mandatory part of the program.

What does this muscle group dislike?

Uniformity. Like any resistant muscle group, the calves must be surprised by changing the exercise, increasing, and decreasing the pace, the number of repetitions, and loads.

Long duration in the same position is not advised - this is mainly aimed at people wearing heels, thus severely shortening the calf muscle fibers, and stiffening the Achilles tendon. If heels are an essential part of your style, you must remember your stretching exercises. On the other hand, many people - unless they jump, run, dance - move very rarely on their toes (it is not particularly necessary in everyday life), so their calf muscles are not used to functioning in contraction.

If you train the calves with medium or light weights - then give it up and put this weight down, because you will not notice any change. The calves like heavy loads and a lot of repetition in the set. From 20 to even 50 reps! Of course, it is difficult to make such long sets with a huge load, but it is worth starting with a heavy load and then reducing it – otherwise known as drop sets.

The best exercises

The basis of all exercises is a movement that involves stretching the muscle (the heel should be below the metatarsal) and then shortening it (climbing on the toes causes the muscles to contract). It's a very simple move, but if we modify it a little bit, we can get a better effect.

The donkey climbs

We stand on the platform in such a way as to rest on the base on the toes and the midfoot, the heel is behind the platform. We bend at the hip joint so that the torso is parallel to the ground. We can hold our hands on the bars of a ladder, the sill, the back of the bench or any other machine that will allow us to maintain this position for longer. We lower our heels as low as we can, and then we climb on our toes, tightening the calves tightly. We repeat about 30 times in series.

Wall sit/Braced squat

Often referred to as a "chair", this is a popular and quite exhausting isometric exercise that strongly engages the muscles of the thighs and buttocks. Modify them by climbing on your toes in this position and hold this position for a few seconds and repeat a few times.

Raises in a standing position with a load

Stand on a platform, lean the barbell with the load on our shoulders (another option is training with the Smith machine, which guarantees a stable position). Make a single-legged (more difficult version) toe climb and then lower the heel so low that it is below the metatarsus. If we have not exercised our calves much so far, the movement will probably not be too long and may cause pain in the tensed muscles. This can appear quite quickly.

The farmer's walk on tiptoes

Like walking in heels carrying a weight, i.e. a farmer's walk with a load, popular among strongmen, but modified to meet the needs of the muscles of the lower legs. We do it on our toes and train the coordination of movements.

Remember that the effects will be visible when we really abuse the calves hard. High loads, many repetitions in the series - only with this method we will achieve a visible change in the structure of the lower legs.