We’ve all heard the very famous song by Marilyn Monroe, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. However, in this article, I’m not referring to Tiffany’s or Harry Winston’s. Ladies, I’m talking about those deliciously diamond shaped muscles that are known as your calves! I envy a woman with a nicely developed pair of calves. Although I have worked very hard on my calves throughout my time competing in dance, cheerleading, and bikini shows, I have not been blessed with genetically sculpted, rock hard calves. If you are like me, I have great news for you! You can improve the shape and size of your calves by devoting some much needed attention to this often neglected muscle group. I say “neglected” because so many females simply don’t get around to training calves or don’t pay the attention to their calves that they might for an area considered a “problem area”, like the glutes. Sure, we all want rock hard buns, but there is no sexier accessory to a short skirt and a pair of heels like a set of nicely shaped calves!
When training your calves, it’s important to combine both seated and standing exercises to work both the major muscles in the calves: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Because we use our calf muscles regularly throughout the day as we walk, these muscles can be stubborn to respond to training. For this reason, you must always train your calves with high intensity. You can work in a higher rep range with calves since intensity is key, but I recommend pyramiding the weight up and the reps down as you progress through your sets.
|Standing calf raises|| 1 set of 20 reps
1 set of 15 reps
1 set of 12 reps
1 set of 10 reps
1 set of 8 reps
|Seated calf raises||4 sets of 15 reps|
|Toe presses on leg press machine||4 sets of 30 reps
*in each set, perform 10 reps with feet parallel, 10 reps with toes pointed in, 10 reps with toes pointed out
Perform this workout twice a week at the end of your training session.
On top of incorporating my Femme Phorm workout into your gym routine, also be sure to add sprints to your cardio regime for even more calf shaping and general leg toning. My favorite way to do sprints is to go to the track and after a 10 minute warm up jog/run and stretch, sprint the straight portion of the track and recover by jogging the curves. Repeat this to complete 8 cycles of sprint and recover. I also like to incorporate jumping rope for 1-2 minutes in my rest period between sets to really tone my calves and of course, squeeze in a little more fat burning cardio. Plyometrics are another great way of developing the calves, specifically, one legged foot hops. Aim for 50-100 hops on each leg per set.
The most important aspects are following a good nutrition plan, working out consistently, drinking water, getting quality sleep, and supplementing where needed to support our lifestyle and goals.
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