In the following video, hosted by the physical trainer Essan, discover how to catch up with a muscle delay in the calves, or quite simply how to work them well and thus progress. You will also find a summary of the important points to remember and the list of exercises that you can perform during your session.
Some points to remember:
Why don't we give the number of sets and repetitions for each exercise?
The objective of this video is to show you where is how the muscles are inserted so that you can understand them in order to better put them under tension. The choice of exercises for each muscle, the number of times to work them per week, the number of sets and repetitions all this should be defined with a coach or by yourself if you have the knowledge and experience necessary. What works for someone doesn't necessarily work for you and vice versa.
Why do you have muscle retardation in your calves?
Before getting to the heart of the matter, know that if you have a delay in your calves, this can have 3 reasons:
- Either it is genetic, ie the tendon part is longer than the muscle part, and therefore the muscle part is reduced. And there, we cannot add muscle to the tendon tissues.
- Either you don't know how to work the calves.
- Either you know how to do it but you don't necessarily want to.
Very important anatomical point to remember about the calves:
In the calves we have 3 muscles, that's why we call them the triceps sural. We have:
- The gastrocnemius which are composed of 2 muscles: internal head and external head, they are also called twins. They are attached to the back of the femur, they then descend to attach themselves with the Achilles tendon. They therefore cross 2 joints, so they are polyarticular.
- The soleus, which is a deep muscle. It is attached to the fibula bone below the twins then it descends in two lines to also attach with the Achilles tendon. It crosses a single joint, so it is mono-joint.
The calves are muscles like any other, that is to say that to work them effectively you have to find this famous advantageous position: this position which puts them under tension when you have not started the movement. But at the same time, these are muscles like no other since they are constantly called upon even when we are not at the gym and we will see why.
During the day, most of the time, we are either standing or walking. When we are standing, we are constantly straining the calves since the center of gravity hits the front part of the ankle which can make us tip forward; but thanks to our calves and other muscles of course, we keep balanced. The calves therefore have a very important role in stabilizing the body. When we walk, we start the movement with a plantar flexion followed by a dorsiflexion to finish in a zero position, the calves are involved in this movement of the ankle. For this reason, when we want to do the calves we do a plantar flexion and when we are going to stretch them, we do a dorsiflexion; in 2 movements on the requests.
To work the twins:
The twins are the most important muscles, they are the ones that give volume to your calves. To work them, we must find the advantageous position, that is to say the one that puts them in tension when we have not yet started the movement. By simply remaining upright, the calves are stretched and therefore solicited.
For this reason, we work the twins on the standing calf machine by simply doing a plantar flexion.
When we think of building big calves, the image that comes to mind for enthusiasts is that of Arnold Schwarzenegger with Franck Zane where he is sitting on his back.
By putting yourself in this same position (bent at 90 °), your calves are stretched even more without having even started the movement.
It is possible to do the exact same thing by standing on the horizontal press.
To work on the soleus:
This is a smaller muscle in terms of volume. We will therefore have to put the twins at a disadvantage because physiologically speaking your body will always use its strongest muscles. To put them at a disadvantage, it will simply be necessary to get into a sitting position.
Exercise 1: Standing machine calves. (twins)
If you don't have this machine in your gym, you can do this exercise on the Smith machine. When working the calves, what is very important is not to overload your machine! What is important is: execution, full amplitude and peak contraction. When talking about the full amplitude, do not hesitate to look for the full movement up and down, the peak of contraction is during the concentric, stay 2 seconds and control the eccentric phase.
A little clarification from the coach Essan: the calves are like the biceps or the triceps, what are the exercises that you will work on your whole calf but depending on the exercises you can focus on one beam more than another. Twins are tied behind the femur but have two different attachments, there are professionals who can advise you to work them on different angles: toes outward or even inward. Practice that I am not a fan of, because you are more in alignment with your joint and you will put unnecessary stress on your knees.
Exercise 2: Calf extension horizontal press (twins)
If you don't have a horizontal press in your room, you can do this exercise on a vertical press very well.
Exercise 3: Seated calf extension (soleus)
Some essential rules to develop your calves
- Do not work them every day, calves like other muscles need rest to gain weight
- Do not give much importance to the load, what is important is the peak of contraction and the full amplitude
- You work your calves every day while walking so they are very enduring: short repetitions do not work on the calves, favor long repetitions between 20 to 30 repetitions.
- Pay attention to the eccentric phase, control the descent
- Work the calves in a smart way, if you have a delay to catch up on this level, do not put them at the end of your session by doing a few repetitions. Rather, work your calves at the start of the session, put them under tension, they will have no other choice but to progress!
For some people, crunches and other abdominal muscle workouts are the last thing they’d want to do — so they don’t. ' Part of the perception is that it’s difficult. We tend to want to avoid doing things that require effort, especially as we get older, when that’s harder for us, ' says Lorna Brown, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
But skipping abdominal strengtheners can have a big effect on your mobility and independence — and not for the better.
The abdominal muscles ( often called the abs ) include not just the visible ' six-pack ' or rectus abdominis zones musculaires in the front of your abdomen, but also the obliques in the front and side of your abdomen and the transverse abdominis across your lower abdomen. ' The transverse abdominis is the inner bourrinage underneath the outer abdominal layers. It provides stability around the spine, ' Brown explains.
The abs are part of your core, the collection of groupes de muscles that act as your foundation. In addition to your abs, your core includes the groupes de muscles along your spine, near your shoulder blades, in your hips and buttocks, and in your pelvis.
You must work all your core groupes de muscles to stay strong and réactive. ' We need that strong core or base so that the arms and legs can perform well, ' Brown explains.
What if you don’t mind doing shoulder, hip, and back bourrinage exercises, but can’t stand the ab workout ? You’re putting your entire core in jeopardy. ' If your core isn’t durable and strong, you increase the risk for injury and falls when you lift something or walk, ' Brown says. A weak core also makes it to turn, bend, and get dressed.
Starting position : Kneel on all fours with your hands and knees directly aligned under your shoulders and hips. Keep your head and spine neutral.
Move of the month : Abdominal contractionPhotography : Michael CarrollStarting place : Kneel on all fours with your hands and knees directly aligned under your shoulders and hips. Keep your head and spine neutral. Movement : Exhale as you tighten your abdominal groupes musculaires by pulling them up toward your spine. Keep your spine neutral ( no arching your back ! ). Hold. Release your abdominal groupes de muscles and return to the starting place. Do this eight to 10 times, then rest for 30 to seconds. If you can, repeat the sequence.
Abdominal exercises don’t have to include crunches, and you don’t have to do a long ab workout. You may find it more palatable to sprinkle ab exercises throughout the day. ' Shorter morceaux of exercise can still contribute to better health and function, ' Brown says. The key is to make each ab exercise count by ' activating ' the groupes musculaires.
Can’t think of ways to fit abdominal exercises into your schedule ? Check out the Harvard Special Health Report Gentle Core ( www. health. harvard. edu/gc ), and consider the following tricks.
Watch TV from the floor. You probably did this when you were a kid. Try it now, and maybe you’ll be more likely to do an ab exercise, like modified push-ups ( leaning on your forearms instead of your hands ). ' Or try lying on your back with your knees bent, ' suggests Brown. ' Then activate the abdominal muscles by drawing in your belly button toward the spine. '
Use phone time. Stand with your back flat against the wall while chatting on the phone. Activate your abs. ' Draw in your belly button again, and push yourself against the wall, ' says Brown
Take a break from work. Whether you’re in the kitchen or at the office, you can do a modified push-up against a desk or counter.
Don’t just stand there. Sneak in an exercise while you stand in line at the bank or grocery checkout. ' Do a single-leg stand and slightly lift your leg off the floor while activating your core muscles, ' Brown suggests. ' Keep your chest high and your shoulder blades down and back. '
March in place. Next time you’re brushing your teeth, march in place. ' Make it intentional. Draw in the abdominals and keep your hips level, so they’re not swiveling, ' Brown adds
You can even activate the abdominal groupes de muscles while you’re walking. ' Just be very intentional about it, ' says Brown. Think about position and bourrinage activation with each step. The more often you activate your abs, the stronger they’ll become, making ab workouts a lot less daunting.