Calf Exercises For Beginner

Calf Exercises For Beginner. The calf muscle is a muscle group that is often skipped. It is of course not the first muscle group that people look at or immediately notice.

Nevertheless, muscular and developed calf muscles are important in achieving a symmetrically muscular body. The calf triangulation can be done during any workout and does not have to take a lot of time. So don’t skip them!

  1. Standing calf raise
  2. Seated calf raise

#How can I best train my calves?

Most exercises to train your calves are done in the form of a “raise”. You actually lift your entire body by pushing upwards from your calves. There are different machines and variants to perform these so-called calf raises.

Does your gym or fitness facility have fitness machines? Then there is a good chance that there will be a standing calf raise or a seated calf raise. Maybe both. With these exercises, you can push the weight upwards from the calves by placing weight on your shoulders or on your thighs. Calf Exercises For Beginner

#Do I need to train my calves separately?

We can be short and clear about this; Yes definitely! Of course, you can do all kinds of heavy exercises for your legs and lower body, such as squats and deadlifts. During these exercises, the calves are minimally loaded.

If you want your calf muscles to develop further, it is important that one or more variants of a calf raise are included in your training program. Only these exercises ensure that your calf muscles are directly loaded.

Of course, there are exceptions when we would advise against training calves separately. If you are someone who regularly runs long distances, your calves will probably already be more than sufficiently stressed. The rule of thumb here is: listen to your body and give your muscles plenty of rest when they need it.

Standing calf raise – Calf Exercises For Beginner

The standing calf raise is one of the most diverse fitness exercises out there. All you need is a stable raise that you can stand on with the front of the foot and you can do a standing calf raise.

We tell you about different variants that you can do at home and in the gym, but also about the right technique and what you should pay attention to if you want to get the most out of this effective exercise!

The muscles in the legs generally get less attention than other muscles get in the gym. That’s a shame because muscular and developed legs play a big role in having a complete and symmetrical physique.

The gastrocnemius muscle literally means the two-headed calf muscle. This muscle has flexion in the knee joint as its main function. The second function of the calf muscle is to provide plantar flexion and supination of the ankle and foot. Calves Exercises For Beginner

Different variations

The standing calf raise can be performed in many different ways. There are gyms that have special equipment for this, but it can also simply be done at home.

The calf raise can be performed standing, but also in a sitting position such as the seated calf raise. Below we briefly review some popular variations of the standing calf raise.

1. Machine standing calf raise

The machine standing calf raise is the variant that we would experience first if you had access to the device. The device is stable, so you don’t have to worry that the platform on which your feet rest can tip over.

Calf Exercises - Machine standing calf raise

The device also gives you the option to quickly and easily increase or decrease the resistance, by means of a pin with which the weight can be adjusted. Especially for advanced weightlifters with strong calves, the device is very suitable for loading the calves with a considerable amount of weight.

2. Dumbbell standing calf raise

The standing dumbbell calf raise is a variant that you can easily perform at home. All you need for this exercise is a set of dumbbells and a raised surface. It is important here that the raised surface you are standing on is stable and cannot tip over.

Calf Exercises - Dumbbell standing calf raise

Don’t have dumbbells? No problem. Just put on a backpack with one or more liters of water bottles. There are plenty of ways to add extra weight to make the exercise more challenging, get creative!

3. Smith machine standing calf raise

Just like the machine standing calf raise, the smith machine calf raise is a very effective exercise and is definitely recommended if you have access to this machine. You have the option to add a lot of weight here, making the variant for weightlifters with strong calves often more attractive than the dumbbell calf raise.

Calf Exercises - Smith machine standing calf raise

Also, make sure that the raised surface is stable. If necessary, put some weight against the other side of the elevation so that it cannot simply tip over.

4. Unilateral standing calf raise

The unilateral standing calf raise is a variation that is very useful when you don’t have any extra weight to add. By performing the calf raise with one leg at a time, you immediately make the exercise a lot heavier and you don’t need any equipment for that.

Calf Exercises - Unilateral standing calf raise

The unilateral standing calf raise can be performed on the floor. If you have a raised surface that you can stand on, make use of it. This allows you to sink deeper and significantly increases the range of motion of the exercise.

Execution of the standing calf raise

Now there are all kinds of different variations of the standing calf raise. However, this does not have much influence on the execution and technique, this generally remains the same with every variant.

The exercise is not very complicated, but there are a number of points to keep in mind. We deal with the execution of the exercise in a number of clear steps. In this video, you will find more information about performing the standing calf raise.

  1. When using extra resistance in the form of weight, make sure you have the desired weight ready before you start the exercise.
  2. Stand with the front of your foot on a raised surface that is stable.
  3. Point your toes straight forward and keep a very small bend in your knees. You don’t want to ‘lock’ them (overstretching).
  4. Push your body up by pressing up from the forefoot. Note here that the bend in your knees does not change, but that all the power comes from the calves.
  5. Push up as far as possible and consciously tighten your calves in the top position. Pause for one to two seconds in the top position of the exercise.
  6. Then lower your body until the heel is under the raised platform and the calf muscle is fully stretched.
  7. Repeat the movement until the desired number of reps of the set is achieved.

Important technique tips

To ensure that you get the most out of the standing calf raise and perform the exercise as effectively as possible, we have listed a number of useful technical tips for you.

1. Use a unilateral variant

Unilateral, or unilateral, literally means “one-sided”. Performing a unilateral variant means that you perform the exercise per side, for example first the left calf and then the right calf. The main advantage of this is the prevention of inequalities and the preservation of symmetry.

We often naturally have one stronger leg and one weaker leg. It is important to take this into account when training the calves. When the exercise is performed with two legs at the same time, you will not quickly notice that your stronger calf does more work than the other one. This can cause the differences in muscle development and strength to increase.

This can be easily prevented by using a unilateral variant, where you start with the weaker side. Start with the weaker calf and then do the same number of reps for the strong calf.

2. Warm-up with bodyweight

First, do one or two sets with your bodyweight before adding weight. This not only ensures that the calf muscle is sufficiently warmed up, but also that the mobility in your ankle joint is increased.

Stretching the ankle joint ensures that you are immediately able to apply the full range of motion from the first set.

3. No momentum, but control!

The standing calf raise is an exercise that should be performed in a controlled manner. This mainly helps create a strong “mind-muscle connection” and prevents other muscles from being strained.

In the top position of the exercise, try to hold a pause of one to two seconds while consciously tensing your calf muscles.

The main pause occurs in the lower position of the exercise. Here too, you pause for one to two seconds and then push up in a controlled manner. When you let yourself bounce up with the momentum, the highly elastic Achilles tendon is mainly stressed.

Seated calf raise – Calves Exercises For Beginner

The seated calf raise is an exercise that is generally performed on a seated calf raise machine. No access to this machine? No problem, there are also variations of the seated calf raise that you can perform at home.

The seated calf raise is a very effective exercise for training the calves. We’ll tell you why this exercise is so effective, what variations there are, and how best to perform it!

The muscles in the legs generally get less attention than other muscles get in the gym. That’s a shame because muscular and developed legs play a big role in having a complete and symmetrical physique.

The gastrocnemius muscle literally means the two-headed calf muscle. This muscle has flexion in the knee joint as its main function. The second function of the calf muscle is to provide plantar flexion and supination of the ankle and foot.

Different variations – Calves Exercises For Beginner

The calves are generally trained through two types of exercises. These are standing calf raises and seated calf raises.

Both types of exercises can be performed through a number of different variations. In gyms and fitness facilities you often have special machines and equipment for this. You can also perform the exercise without a seated calf raise machine, even at home. We’ll walk you through some of the popular variations!

1. Machine seated calf raise

The machine seated calf raise is the variant that we would experience first if you had access to the device. You can easily and quickly get into the right position to perform the exercise.

Calves Exercises - Machine seated calf raise

This variant is also very comfortable. The soft cushions that rest on the thighs allow you to add some weight to the device without causing discomfort.

2. Dumbbell seated calf raise

Don’t have access to a seated calf raise machine, but you do have up to two dumbbells? Then try the dumbbell seated calf raise. By resting two dumbbells on the thighs, you can add extra resistance to the exercise.

Calves Exercises - Dumbbell seated calf raise

You also need a bench or chair to sit on and a raised surface on which the front feet can be placed, for example, one or more weight plates stacked on top of each other.

3. Seated barbell calf raise

The seated barbell calf raises actually works the same as the dumbbell seated calf raise. Instead of a dumbbell, you use a barbell in this variant to add extra weight to the exercise.

Calves Exercises - Seated barbell calf raise

Make sure that you use a squat pad or a towel. If you don’t do this, it can be painful for the muscles in the thighs, especially with heavier weights. Also with this variant, it is advisable to place the feet on a raised surface for maximum range of motion.

Execution of the seated calf raise

Now there are all kinds of different variations of the seated calf raise. This has little influence on the execution and technique, which generally remain the same with each variant.

The exercise is not very difficult, but there are a number of points to pay attention to. We will go through the execution of the exercise on the basis of a number of clear steps. In the video, you will find even more information about the most effective way of training the calf muscles.

  1. Prepare the desired weight that you want to use during the exercise in advance. This can be done by adding weight to a seated calf raise machine or by using additional weight in the form of a barbell or dumbbells.
  2. Place your front feet on the raised platform and let the extra weight rest comfortably on your thighs, not your knees!
  3. Point your toes straight out or let them point slightly outward, but no more than that.
  4. Lower your heels until the calf muscle is fully stretched. Hold this position for one to two seconds.
  5. Push the weight up from the forefoot without using momentum. Push the weight up as far as possible and hold this position for one to two seconds.
  6. Repeat the movement until the desired number of reps of the set is achieved.

Important technique tips – Calves Exercises For Beginner

To ensure that you get the most out of the seated calf raise and perform the exercise as effectively as possible, we have listed a number of useful technical tips for you.

#Warm up the calves first

Do one or two sets with the only bodyweight before adding extra weight. This not only ensures that the calf muscle is properly warmed up, but also that the mobility in your ankle joint increases.

Stretching the ankle joint ensures that you are able to use a full range of motion from the first set.

#Don’t use momentum

The seated calf raise is an exercise that should be performed in a controlled manner. This mainly helps to create a good “mind-muscle connection” and prevents other muscles from (partly) taking over the work.

In the top position of the exercise, try to hold a pause of about one to two seconds while consciously tightening the calves.

The main pause occurs in the lower position of the exercise. Here you pause for one to two seconds and then push up in a controlled manner. When you let yourself spring up with the momentum, the Achilles tendon is mainly stressed, which is very elastic – Calf Exercises For Beginner.

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