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6 Common Calf Training Mistakes Most Guys With Small Calves Make

If you go to the gym 3-5 times per week and pay close attention to what you eat then chances are you are very conscious of how you look and take a lot of pride in your physique.
I mean let’s be real, you aren’t going to the gym to socialize. Having said that, being around tons of in-shape people all the time can definitely get you feeling insecure.

One are in particularly that most guys struggle with is calves.
If you are like us, calves have always lagged other body parts. After a few years of training our calves still looked small relative to our quads, hamstrings and upper-body muscles.
What made matters worse is that there were guys who barely spent any time in the gym at all yet still had massive calves.
While calf frustration is well-documented the good news is you can definitely train around it.
If you aren’t getting the type of calves growth you want you are probably making one of several common errors.

#1. Not lifting heavy enough

This is by far the most common mistake people make when targeting their calves. Your calves have a lot of work on their hands all throughout your day – remember, they support your entire bodyweight during all physical activities, 24/7. So if you want to challenge these bad boys to grow, you will have to work with some heavier weight.

Failing to do so will prove as insufficient for stimulating hypertrophy and won’t cause significant growth. A good way to start is by performing seated calf raises – this is a highly effective exercises that gives you the opportunity to safely overload the muscles with heavy weight without placing undue stress on your back.

#2. Low volume

We’re not proposing that extremely high volume works best for hypertrophy in every case, but we can guarantee you that by lifting heavy for very few reps you’ll never get where you want to be, given the extended periods of work your calves are subjected to every single day. Your calves are very comfortable with low-intensity work with a short range of motion, so performing calf sessions in that manner won’t push them to grow. So instead of that, give them something they’re not accustomed to and feel free to perform your calf exercises with heavy weight for up to 30 reps per set. That being said, make sure to get a maximum range of motion on each rep and hold each stretch for one second and each contraction for two seconds. After you reach full-rep failure, perform another set of shorter, faster repetitions.

 #3. Lift Heavier

If you are only doing bodyweight exercises for calves you can kiss any potential gain goodbye.
Your calves are used to supporting your bodyweight so in order to get them to grow you will need to add a lot more weight.
Some people compensate by doing tons of reps and while this might give you a pump it’s not hypertrophy-range training and won’t lead to growth.
This is what makes the seated calf raise such an effective exercise.
You are able to overload the muscles with heavy weight, safely.

That way you can lift enough weight to overload the muscles without putting stress on your back.
Most good seated calf raise machines will elevate your feet so that you can drop the heels below parallel. This increased range of motion makes each rep far more effective.

#4. Contract the Muscle

This one should be obvious and applies to all muscle groups yet it never ceases to amaze us how many guys mess this up.
When you are training calves you really need to focus on contracting the muscle. It should feel like the calves are moving that weight!
Don’t rush through each rep – perform each positive and negative portion in a controlled manner. At the top of the exercise squeeze the calves to really emphasize them.
Remember – just because you are lifting heavy weights doesn’t mean you can simply drop the weight down during the negative portion of the lift!

#5. Add a Second Calves Day

While once per week might be sufficient for other muscle groups, your calves are used to getting a lot of work throughout your day to day life.
As a result, simply working them once per week might not be enough to stimulate them.
If you are like most guys you probably work your calves on leg day. While this is certainly one way to approach it, you have to keep in mind that your calves are already pre-exhausted from other exercises such as squats, leg extensions and leg curls. As a result you don’t have as much energy to really work the calves. Given that your calves can handle a lot of punishment why not add in a second calves day? This gives you an opportunity to work them after an unrelated muscle group such as back. The result is that you will be able to overload them more effectively and hopefully encourage more growth!

#6. Low testosterone levels

Are you keeping an eye on your T levels? Because if you’re not, that might prevent you from building the body of your dreams, as well as hindering your calves development. There are a number of things you can do to boost your testosterone levels naturally, and some of the best ways include adding more heavy compound movements to your routine, improving your diet by adding testosterone-enhancing food choices, and of course, taking a high quality testosterone boosting supplement. Elevating your T levels will have a great effect on your overall performance and gains, so don’t think twice about this one – even if your testosterone production is solid at the moment, it won’t hurt to stimulate it even further!