Grow your calves the 'Hybrid' way!

Made up of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus, your calves are one of the most stubborn muscle groups to add size to. There are endless reasons why including a lack of genetics, a lack of quality training targeted on your calves and even over training! Today we aim to provide you with some great tips to develop your calves!

There is no denying that genetics play a big part in building muscle, especially where calves are concerned. It comes down to the length of the bone in comparison to the size of the muscle. For example, if your Tibula and Fibula are shorter your muscles will look much thicker opposed to having long bones. If you’re unblessed with these genetics and your bones are longer, you muscles will be stretched out and this can cause the bottom of your legs to appear very skinny! However, this does not mean that you are not able to pack some size on your calves with the right training methods and attitude.

There are a handful of things you need to take into account when training your calves. The blood flow is generally very poor; therefore you want to perform lots and lots of repetitions. Due to the way the muscle contracts it is vital that your form is spot on. Like any muscle, it needs to be trained at lest once a week for around 15-20 minutes, with no breaks in between sets for maximum gains. Take a look at this training and then apply it to your routine.

Possibly one of the best training routines for your calves is what is known as ‘Hybrid’ training. This form of training has been around in various forms for years, but this form was created by IFBB Pro Flex Lewis. It involves extreme intensity and volume crammed into a short period of time. It is based on a circuit, performing one set after the next, hitting each head of the calves. The main principles behind this form of training are to get maximum blood flow into the calves and to also stretch the muscles as far as possible.

Each circuit consists of 4 exercises performed back to back, with each set counting up to 30 reps. These exercises include leg press toe raise, standing calf machine, seated calf machine, standing calf raise standing on a block and standing calf raise with heels on a plate. There are more to add, but first perform these.

It is vital that each set is performed with control and that you are gaining a maximum contraction at the top of each rep. This training’s effectiveness heavily relies on intensity and volume. Therefore perform 30 reps per set, with no breaks in between each exercise. Here is a sample workout.

4X

Leg press calf raise – 30

Standing On Block Calf Raise – 30

On Floor Calf Raise – 30 fast reps

3X

Standing calf raise machine – 15

Toes on plate calf raise – 15

Heels on plate calf raise – 15

Bent over one legged calf raise – 15 per foot

3X

Perform step ups on standing calf machine - 15

Toes on plate calf raise – 15

Heels on plate calf raise – 15

Donkey calf raise – 30 reps

It cannot be stressed enough the importance of controlling each and every repetition, especially on the negative to prevent any ‘bouncing’ at the bottom. To stimulate growth in your calves it is all about the contraction and squeezing blood into the muscle to stretch the fascia tissue! By ensuring your form is slow and steady you will experience a sever burning sensation in your calves which is great because it is this stress which will activate the growth and development of new muscle tissue!

Try this workout and see how you find your progress over a period of 10 weeks. I would advise to do this just once a week as anymore could equate to overtraining which will be just as counter productive as not training them enough!

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