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A Bodybuilding Coach Shares His Favorite Exercises to Grow Bigger Calves

jumpstart your growth for the most common muscle groups people train in the gym

A Bodybuilding Coach Shares His Favorite Exercises to Grow Bigger Calves

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Australian bodybuilding coach and trainer Eugene Teo has previously shared his favorite exercises to jumpstart your growth for the most common muscle groups people train in the gym. These guides have include his best moves to target the lower body, like his top moves to build bigger hamstrings and quads. Now, he’s sharing his most effective moves to target your calves—which most people find to be a difficult project.

“The biggest question I get is if you can grow calves, or if it really does all come down to genetics,” says Teo.

To answer this, he goes into detail about the actual anatomy of the muscle group.

“The most prominent thing is the muscle belly insertion point,” says Teo. “We’re talking about where the muscle belly itself attaches onto the body, and that will definitely have an impact on the overall look of your calves.”

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Teo’s calf muscles have a low insertion point, which gives him an enviable advantage to have bigger-looking calves. But he says that genetics shouldn’t be an excuse for people when it comes to calf training, even if there will be limits to their success. Maximizing growth and strength comes down to how you train and target your muscle tissue in the calf area.

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Exercise 1: Single-Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise

“This is a truly humbling exercise that surprises many people when they try to do it,” says Teo. “This exercise will reveal a lot of weaknesses within your body.”

According to Teo, you don’t need to use a lot of weight at all for it to be effective. He also notes it is okay to use some assistance for balance while doing these.

“A simple set of 10 to 15 reps with a controlled lowering and a pause in the stretch and the contraction is often more than enough to crash even the most advanced body builder,” says Teo.

He suggests trying to keep an even pressure throughout the foot, and that playing with various degrees of knee bend can also change up this move to hit deeper in the soleus (deep calf muscle).

Teo pauses a minimum of three seconds in the stretch position to eliminate any tendency to bounce. This loads the Achilles tendon isometrically which can help loosen the tendon and decrease risk of injury to the calves.

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Exercise 2: Tibialis Raise

“Anything for the tibialis anterior (the muscle in front of your shin) is going to be useful,” says Teo.

This is an extremely undertrained region, according to Teo, and bodyweight should be enough to hit it. Although you can use a resistance band. This area gets overlooked from a mechanics point of view.

“This muscle plays a lot of important roles for maintaining posture when walking and standing up and for overall movement at the ankle joints,” say Teo. “Better strength, endurance and coordination through this muscle and its associated actions will carry over to other calf exercises, like the single leg standing dumbbell raise.”

To do this, he suggests doing toe taps or toe raises. He also suggests similar to the single leg calf raise to do 10 to 15 reps with a hold in the stretch position. He suggests doing them as an active rest between sets of calf raises.

Emily Shiffer Emily Shiffer is a former digital web producer for Men’s Health and Prevention, and is currently a freelancer writer specializing in health, weight loss, and fitness.

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