Arnold Schwarzenegger took the advices on calves from Mr. Universe Winner Reg Park. He inceased weight and got great results. Arnold idolized and respected Mr. Park and the following calves workout philosophy could be done by Arnold Schwarzenegger! Here's Mr. Park training secret, have fun - Mr. Berg
According to Reg Park the ultimate development of the calve are determined by two main factors, once again bodyweight and the other factor is the flexibility of the achilles tendon.
When Reg Park refers to bodyweight he simply means that in order to increase your calf size it is vitally necessary to increase your bodyweight, this of course applies to muscle size on any part of the bidy but the lower leg and arms are more influenced by actual bodyweight than other parts of the body.
There are of course those fortunate ones who are blessed with either natural calves or arms and even with a loss of bodyweight these people lose less on their natural areas than do their less fortunate brothers.
By and large however, if you tend to be light in the calves you must accept the fact that even with all the sets possible you will gain little or no size on them unless you have marked increase in bodyweight.
The question of flexible achilles tendon is what primarily determines the shape and size of your calves. You will not that bodybuilders with a good stretch in the achilles tendon such as Steve Reeves have a natural large, lower calf development.
A good test to ascertain whether or not your tendons is tight or flexible is to stand in a shallow lunge position and keeping the heel of the front on the floor bend your knee and stretch it as far as past the toes of your foot as possible.
these bodybuilders with the greater fexion have naturally larger and lower calves - the soleus tending to blend in with the gastrocnemius - whereas even those advanced bodybuilder who lack flexibility in the achilles tendon whilst they may possess a heavy gastrocnemius development are usually very poor in the soleus group and this gives their calf development a 'high' look in appearance.
Reg Park has seen many bodybuilders make very marked improvements in their calf development.
According to Reg the most notable being Clarence Ross. If you have ever seen pohotgraphs of Clarence when he won the 1945 Mr. America weighing 168lb and noticed his calf development or lack of development and then looked at later photographs when he weighed 205lb. the improvement in his calf development and shape is astonishing.
As a point of interest Ross performed several sets of heavy standing calf exercise followed by several sets of free heel raises without any weight where the emphasis was on slow full range improvement.
Other bodybuilders attempting to stretch their achilles tendon do so by walking up a steep incline bench normally used for stomach exercise, taking small steps and endeavouring to keep the heels on the bench as long as possible.
Reg Park listed the following popular calf exercises:
1. Sitting calf exercise
2. Calf on leg press
3. Donkey calf with partner sitting on your bacj
4. Standing calf exerciser
Many authorities advocate different feet position in order to work the calf from different angles but, Reg Park does not believe this in necessary, he simply exercise the calves the feet comfortably apart and parallel to each other.
in addition he tries to take most of the stress on the base of the big toe and on exercises 2, 3 and 4 he finds it more beneficial if he exercises with the knees slightly bent as this work not only both heads of the gastrocnemius but also the soleus as well.
How often and how many sets?
They should certainly be exercised no less than three times a week. You can if you wish work with them daily and another system is to work them 4 days and then rest them 3 days.
As regards the number of sets and repetitions Reg Park believes in a minimum of 5 sets and maximum of 15 sets per workout with the repetitions ranging from 15-20.
You may experience days when after 4 or 5 sets your calves feel 'pumped' to maximum in this case Mr. Park sees little or no point in continuing further sets similarly, you may also have days when after 4 or 5 sets you have no response or pump what so ever, if this happens Reg ceases all further sets and usually the next workout he experiences a general pump.
In conclusion remember that if you desire more size on your calves, unless you are already overweight and not exercising them enough, the only way that you will increase your calf size is apart from regular exercise, to increase your bodyweight.