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Increasing Development of the Calf Muscles

written by: Isabel Prontes • edited by: Angela Atkinson • updated: 3/30/2011

In the bodybuilding world, bulging diamond-shaped calf muscles are considered the holy grail of leg toning. While several factors, including genetics, affect the appearance of one's calves, increasing development of the calf muscles can be accomplished through targeted and precise training.

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    Use More Weight

    To increase development of the calf muscles, you must use heavy weights. This is one of the most important things to understand when training this area. There is no getting around it. It requires an incredible amount of stress in order for the body to achieve calf growth. In order to produce this amount of strain, a very significant amount of weight must be introduced into your workout regimen. The harder you push yourself and the more weight you can press, the more calf muscle growth you can expect to see. It is an arduous and intimidating task at first, but it can be done if you put your mind to it and fully dedicate yourself to the goal.

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    Mental Focus

    Photo Credit to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/d_vdm/1599857394/ Mental focus is absolutely essential in order to increase development of the calf muscles. Because of the physical challenge presented when training this often overlooked area, frustration and burnout are common and unfortunately to be expected, especially in the beginning stages. Even for professional bodybuilders, calf muscle growth is a slow and gradual process. Do not get discouraged. Growth will happen, provided you are willing to develop the necessary patience and discipline. Think of calf muscle growth as a marathon, not a sprint.

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    Exercises

    Calf extensions with a leg press machine are your biggest ally when working to increase calf muscle development. Another option is the seated and standing calf machine, which allows you to perform calf raises. These exercise machines are the most popular pieces of equipment available for increasing calf development and can be found in any gym. They can also be purchased inexpensively for your home gym if you prefer working out in private. While uphill cardio, such as a high incline treadmill or stairmaster, is a good compliment to weight machines, such as the leg press and seated calf machine, do not expect much muscle growth. The resistance offered is too low. As mentioned earlier, heavy weights are really the only surefire way to an increase in calf muscle development of any scale.

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    Don't Overtrain

    A common pitfall when attempting to achieve dramatic calf muscle growth is to jump in too quickly and to push too hard, too often. The calf muscles demand proper recovery time. Due to the enormous amount of strain that you will be putting on your calves, one grueling session a week is sufficient in order to see the desired results over time. In order to avoid injury, it is also advisable to get in the habit of stretching between sets when performing calf exercises. Have patience, stay focused and with time increasing development of the calf muscles will become a reality.

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    References

    Aurora Health Care: Calf Muscle Strain

    Muscle & Fitness: Simple & Effective Calf Training