Arnold was one of the big proponents of having great calves. He used to say how without solid development of the calves even the guys with the biggest quads still looked skinny.
The fact is, without calves to round out the end of the legs you will simply look skinny – particularly when wearing shorts.
In addition to looking aesthetic, well-developed calves will improve your athleticism.
Guys who can jump high, sprint fast and move laterally quickly tend to have very strong calves.
Regardless of whether you are looking for superior looks or athletic performance you need to start paying more attention to those calves.
If you are like most guys you probably didn’t think much about building huge calves when you first started lifting.
You probably assumed that those heavy squats were plenty to get those calves growing.
While squats definitely provide some benefit for the calves, unless you are a genetic freak it simply won’t be enough to get the type of growth that you want.
Getting those calves to grow can be quite a challenge.
There are a number of muscles that make up the calves but the most important ones are the gastrocnemius and the soleus.
The former contains a mix of both slow and fast twitch muscle fiber and gets worked when you straighten your leg.
The soleus on the other hand is mostly slow twitch fibers and gets worked both when your leg is straight and bent.
Just as a reminder, fast twitch fibers are used for explosive movements like jumping.
Slow twitch on the other hand are more for endurance.
Given that your calves get worked all day when you are walking around it makes sense that there are both.
How to Get the Calves Growing
Ok so now that you know the different parts of the calf let’s figure out just how to get those stubborn muscles to grow.
Slow twitch fibers tend to respond to high volume workouts which means you will have to throw a lot at the calves to get them to grow.
In terms of exercises, calf raises are a great place to start.
You can easily pile on a ton of weight but make sure you use good form or you will take the pressure off the calves and onto other muscles.
You can also perform many of these exercises with bodyweight however try to use some of the equipment in your gym as it is more effective for overloading the muscles.
Experiment with both standing and seated movements as they will hit your calves at a different angle.
At the end of the day don’t spend 45 minutes in the gym hitting calves with 10 different exercises – that’s just a waste of time.
At the same time, however, don’t just do a couple sets of seated calf raises after squatting and think that’s sufficient.
Ultimately you will need to experiment a bit and figure out what the right amount of exercises is for your body.
In terms of the workout itself, make sure the movements are controlled and you aren’t just bouncing at the bottom of each rep.
At the top of the rep hold the contraction and really focus on using your calves on each set.
At the end of your workout it should be difficult to walk down the stairs!
Boost Your Testosterone Levels
Like any lagging muscle group, small calves can be a result of low testosterone levels.
Remember this all-important hormone plays a crucial role in muscle growth, so it’s definitely within your best interest to increase your levels.
That means doing regular resistance training, eating a clean diet, getting plenty of sleep and taking a testosterone booster.
Notice we didn’t put synthetic hormones (aka steroids) on that list.
While they certainly will boost t-levels they come with nasty side-effects and of course are illegal in most countries.
Instead, try taking a testosterone booster.
These products are loaded with natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to increase testosterone production.
As a result, you will make faster gains and they will be sustainable and safe.
While it might not be as fast and flashy as steroids you will ultimately not be putting your health at risk.
Just make sure you take a high quality product if you want to get good results.
See our complete guide on the best testosterone boosters here.
Arnold definitely took calves training seriously. In fact, he always felt his calves were lacking so he forced himself to wear shorts so he could bare the embarrassment of having to show them off.
This encouraged him to work harder and ultimately round out his physique.
Fortunately for him he lived in sunny California so freezing cold weather was not something he had to deal with.
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