Hello everyone and welcome back. We will be discussing the calf muscle, how to build the calf muscle (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles). One of the most neglected muscles in the human body. How often do you hear anyone say: let’s work on the calf muscle. Probably like never! Just like the neck muscles, forearm muscles, and the abdominal muscles. Calf muscles play a major role in overall leg appearance and use. We will go over the anatomy of the calf muscles, it’s used, and role. We will also go over, injuries and treatments. Review exercises that specifically target the calf muscle, especially stubborn calf muscle. Finally, how I developed my calf muscles.
Anatomy of the Calf Muscle
The calf muscle, on the back of the lower leg, is comprised of two muscles. The gastrocnemius is the larger calf muscle, that forms the bulge visible underneath the skin. The gastrocnemius has two muscle heads, which together give the appearance of the diamond shape.
The soleus is a smaller, flat muscle that lies underneath the gastrocnemius muscle.
The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles diminish and merge at the bottom of the calf muscle. A strong connective tissue below the calf muscle assimilates with the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon inserts into the heel bone (calcaneus).
The Role of the Calf Muscles
The Calf muscles play a major role in our every day living. Basically, without them, we would not be able to walk properly whatsoever. They assist us in walking, running, or jumping, the calf muscle pulls the heel up to allow forward movement, thus allowing us to move our foot up or down. They also look sick, meaning awesome, when developed. Wear shorts etc, walk on the beach with diamond shape calves and heads will most certainly turn, along with the compliments and questions.
Calf Injuries and Treatment
Injuries of the calf muscles
Calf muscle strain – Stretching the calf muscle past its normal length results in tearing of some calf muscle fibers. Calf muscle strains can vary from mild (slight pain) to severe (complete tear of the calf muscle).
Pulled calf muscle – A calf muscle strain is commonly called a pulled calf muscle. “Pulling” the muscle refers to stretching the calf muscle beyond its limit.
Torn Calf muscle (tear) – All calf muscle strains result in tearing of some muscle fibers. More serious injuries may result in a partial or complete tear of the calf muscle.
Calf muscle rupture – the Complete tear of the calf muscle, resulting in severe pain and inability to walk. The calf muscle may collapse into a lump or ball shape, seen and felt through the skin.
Calf muscle myositis – Inflammation of the calf muscle. Infections or autoimmune conditions (caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues) are usually responsible, although calf muscle myositis is rare.
Rhabdomyolysis – Calf muscle breakdown due to long-term pressure, drug side effects, or a severe medical condition. Rhabdomyolysis usually affects multiple muscles throughout the body.
Calf muscle cancer – Cancer of the calf muscle is uncommon. The tumor may start in the calf muscle (called sarcoma) o
Minimum treatment – for strains, soreness etc. Rest, elevating your leg on a pillow or an object. Place ice on the affected area, or compression ( wrapping gauge bandage around the area). Corticosteroids – Prednisone and similar cortisone-like medicines suppress the immune system and can treat some forms of myositis affecting the calf muscle. Antibiotics – Medicines that kill bacteria can help treat some forms of myositis affecting the calf muscle. Radiation therapy – High-energy radiation directed at cancer cells may be part of the treatment for sarcoma or other cancer affecting the calf muscle.
Physical therapy – For some cases of calf muscle weakness or injury, an exercise program designed and supervised by a physical therapist can help restore strength and function of the calf muscle Chemotherapy – Medicines that kill cancer cells may be given to help treat sarcoma or other cancer affecting the calf muscle. Calf muscle surgery – Surgery may be required for a total tear of the calf muscle, or to remove a calf muscle sarcoma.
The Best Calf exercises, How I did it
There are many exercises for calf muscles that you can do, to achieve the desired results that you seek. Many individuals have always found that calves are difficult to developed. So they tend to work on them less out of frustration, which is the wrong way to go. Here is a list of Calf exercises with machine, and without. That can be done at home(no calf equipment necessary) or anywhere else, that I have used to help me developed my calf muscles.
1. Standing calf raise (toes pointed inward, target the outer head)
2. Standing Calf Raise (Toes pointed outward, target the inner head)
3. Standing Calf Raise (Normal stance, target center of calf muscle), (double leg calf raise or single leg calf raises)
4. Donkey Calf Raise (bent over in L-Shape, have people sit on your back or use bands)
5. Seated Calf Raise Machines
6. Leg Press Machine Toe Raise
7. Standing reverse Calf Raise (heel planted in ground, lift front part of foot off ground)
8. Jump Rope
8. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise (Single leg or both)
9. Standing Barbell Calf raises
10. Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise
11. Seated Barbell Calf Raise
12. Smith Machine Calf raises and Reverse Calf Raise (great calf exercise machine to use)
13. Standing Calf Raise Machine
14. Calf Raise using steps
How I Did It
I developed my calf muscles over time. Calf muscles had always been difficult to build them. However, trying different exercises and experimenting with different workout routines, I was finally able to achieve the desired result that I longed for. Basically, anywhere I went, literally anywhere, I would perform calf raises using only my body weight. On average 2-3 times daily using my body weight. I still do it. When using weights etc, different story. Three times a week, I would perform at least 3 different exercises from the list. Rep ranges were 6-8 for strength, 8-12 for mass, and 12-15 for definition. I did drop sets, super sets, giant sets, rest pause, isolation sets and so on. Every three(3) months, I changed the workout routine in order to shock the body to grow. If you repeat the same routine over and over again. The body becomes adjusted, knows what to expect and will not respond. So make sure not to make the mistake many people do. Also, lets not forget, good nutrition and make sure to consume protein to aid in muscle repair and growth.
We reached the end of the article. We went over several aspects of the calf muscles, the anatomy, injuries, treatment plans and the exercises. I truly hope I was able to assist you, and giving you enough information for you to formulate a plan of attack, and finally build the calves that you always seek for. In life, nothing is given to you on a silver platter, so to speak. You must go after whatever is that you want whole wholeheartedly and relentlessly. No holding back, no doubting yourself, and not let anyone or anything get in the way of your dream, your goal, your aspirations, and most importantly your happiness. In the end, if you are not happy, how will you make someone else happy? If you have any questions or would like information on any of my articles, please leave me a comment, email me, and I will gladly get back to you. Thank you for taking the time out for reading my article. It feels wonderful helping you out. Take care, stay healthy and here is to a new a better version of yourself.