RNT Body Part Series, Part 8: Two Tips Double Your Calf Gains

Well defined calves adds power to your legs - here's how to nail those tennis player legs.

Akash Vaghela Akash Vaghela · 09 Jan 2018

Training Intermediate
3 Mins

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For this instalment of the RNT Body Part Series, I’m going to take a different approach and bring Adam into the fold.

Why?

Because I have no calves, and have yet to crack the code on it!

So it only makes sense that I pass the reigns onto him for this particular piece and find out the two most bang for your buck tips he can offer to help maximise your calf training.

Here’s what he had to say…

1. Pause at the bottom and the top of each rep


The lower legs store up a ton of elastic energy in the Achilles tendon, meaning if you just bounce up and down during your calf raises, you’re likely to be only using tendon strength and momentum.

Instead, what you want to do is pause every rep at the bottom, get a deep stretch, and allow the elastic energy to dissipate before lifting up.

When you do lift up, try come up as high as you can and contract your calves as hard as possible. You want a cramp-like sensation at the end of every rep.

By slowing the reps down like this, you’ll be able to create more muscular damage and ensure that it’s your calves doing the work, and not the surrounding tendons and ligaments.


2. Think like a ballerina


One thing I’ve noticed with those who have great calf development is their ability to come up high onto their toes with every rep.

For example, if you compare Akash’s range of motion compared to mine, it’s night and day.

I’m able to get right onto my big toe and create a lot of plantar flexion, whereas Akash’s range is poor to say the least.

When you next perform calf raises, think like a ballerina and get as high onto your big toe as possible. The contraction should be ten times more intense!


BONUS – Stretch!


No surprise here…but if you want to get the most out of your calf work, you need to stretch the hell out of them. Both during every rep AND after you’ve finished.

The calves get incredibly tight, and this restriction tends to be the limiting factor in most people’s calf development.

So once you’ve finished, hold a 60 second stretch at the bottom of a calf raise. This will be excruciating, but worth the results!

Because I know a lot of you will be wondering what I did to build up my calves initially, here was my ‘go-to’ routine that I used for years when I started training:

1A) Leg Press, Toe Press – 3 x 15-20 – 3211 tempo
1B) Calf Raises, Toes Elevated on Two Plates – 3 x 20 – 1010 tempo
1C) Calf Raises, Heels Elevated on One Plate – 3 x F – 1010 tempo (essentially pulsing at the top end of the rep)

Take about 2 minutes rest after each, and minimal rest between each exercises in the tri-set. Embrace the pain and enjoy the growth!

Akash VaghelaAkash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela has spent 10+ years transforming bodies and lives around the world, and in May 2017, founded RNT Fitness to serve this purpose. His vision is to see a world transformed, where ambitious high performers experience the power of the physical as the vehicle to unlock their real potential. He’s the author of the Amazon best-sellilng book Transform Your Body Transform Your Life, which explains his unique and proven five-phase methodology, is host of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, has been featured in the likes of Men’s Health and BBC, whilst regularly speaking across the world on all things transformation.

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