Issue #150


by Juan Carlos Lopez

20 Questions with Cover Model Doina Gorun

Video Interview with Fitness Model Maddy Curley

Doina Gorun, Grace Rivera, Jessica Quintana, Jessica Schiefer & Julianne Trebing

Cannonball Calves Articles
by Tina Jo Orban

Video Interview with Amateur Bikini Marissa Remy



Cannonball Calves Workout by Tina Jo Orban

The lower portion of your leg is called the crural leg or the ‘true leg’ (as if the thigh is the false leg). Anyhow to train calves the posterior portion of your “true leg” you need to approach it a tad differently than the rest of your body to beef it up.
The first obvious mistake I find is that people neglect altogether dedicated calves training.
Furthermore, they neglect the entire lower leg and leave the training up to cardio or legs day to cover it. This will not do!  Now it is true there are genetics that play a role in the natural bulk of a muscle and shorter tendons give the effect of a fatter muscle belly; However, don’t lose hope!

As the postmodernist Kurt Vonnegut in his famed novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, once wrote of “the Englishmen” that they “had been lifting weights ….for years, Their bellies were like washboards. The muscles of their calves ….were like cannonballs” (119). Do you want cannonball calves? Yes? Then read on.

To train the entire lower leg you will need to perform dorsiflexion (bringing toes toward shin). against resistance. That is typically trained in the eccentric phase (heel moving downward) or say a Seated-Calf Raise (coming down phase). This will help build the tibialis anterior. That pretty little muscle lateral to your “shin” bone. And to have the illusion of a thicker lower leg you got to build up the front (anterior) as well as the backside (posterior) of the lower leg.

For the stars of the lower extremity (that is the knee down) you have to do both Seated Calf Raises[1] (See link) and Standing Calf Raises (see link)[2] . By now this is common knowledge for even the dilettante fitness guy/gal. But let’s go over it: Seated calves isolates the soleus. That is the muscle deep to the gastrocnemius. You have got to do these. This is critical to thicken up the lower leg. Bicyclist have great calf development (and tibilais anterior for that matter as they have both a bent leg and semi-straightened lower leg flexing and contracting while they pedal). Uphill cycling is a killer work out for the lower leg. (Uphill adds resistance— to build). 
Standing Calf Raises focus on the beautiful diamond headed gastrocnemius. Dancers (long-term ones, not newbies) have a well defined gastrocnemius’ as they spend a lot of time in plantar flexion with a slightly bent knee.  

So what is a good routine? The tad difference I discussed is this: the lower leg muscle fiber distribution is predominantly slow twitch. Quick review slow-twitch muscles allow for long-endurance feats such as distance running (or cycling aforementioned while fast-twitch muscles fatigue faster but are used in powerful bursts of movements like sprinting. Yes, you can do both types of training for the lower leg. That means resistance (weights) and high repetitive stress contractions such as cycling and running and walking. Here is the trick though, do your weights at a slightly higher rep range than you would for say bulking up the 'pecs” pectorialis major or “quads” quadriceps.  A good rep range to train against resistance for your calves is 15- 25 reps per set! YEP. You read that right. These postural muscles respond well and fatigue less quickly than other muscles. Think of it like your abdominals training. These muscles also are slow to fatigue and respond well to and withstand higher repetitions. Yet, still use difficult resistance. And toss in some uphill cycling if you like.
Don’t over train them either. Hit calves no more than twice per week. If you are trying to grow them. And as I always mention you have got to have the nutrition dialed in too. If you’re stripping down weight and naturally have slimmer “weak calves” to begin with—
guess which muscle is going to go first? Yep, your calves. So make sure you are taking in enough calories to sustain growth. You should be particularly consuming high quality protein. You know what to do, but if you don’t check your metabolic rate at a local biometrics lab— such as Dexafit[3] or a decent online source is Caloriecounter.io [4] (I am not going to turn this into a nutrition article).

One Routine:

Thirty minutes of Indoor Cycling (or outdoor but you’ll be hard pressed to find a mountain uphill for a solid thirty minutes) at a resistance good enough to slightly burn, but not fatigue.

Seated Calf Raises
3 to 5 sets at 25 reps
1.5—2-minute rest periods.

Standing Calf Raises
3 to 5 sets at 25 reps
1.5—2-minute rest periods.

Improvisation. If you don’t have access to these machines. Grab a kettle-bell and while standing straight up (for gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior) with the bell held in both hands in front or you raise on to your tip toes (plantar flex) slowly and deliberately. If balance is a challenge—hold the k-bell in one hand and use the other hand braced against a wall. Use enough weight to get a burn in the last few reps. If you need more resistance raise up on one foot at a time for your 25 reps. Same sets reps and rest as recommended above.

For Seated Calf Raises (soleus and tibialis anterior) sans access to Seated Calf Raise machine, use instead a bench or chair and grab a plate (preferably rubber plated 45 lb. and hit your 25 reps! Same sets reps and rest as recommended above.


If all else fails as in you have access to none of the above, try cycling uphill outdoors. If you are lucky enough to live in Northern California Soulcyle[5] is a new trendy spot to cycle indoors. They have you work against resistance, so calves will definitely be worked. Thus Soulcycle training is also an option. Now get out there and work those calves.

[1] http://www.protfitness.ma/wp-content/uploads/pow_psc43x_f-254x297.jpg
[2] https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/b/exercising-standing-calf-raises-bodybuilding-target-muscles-marked-red-44123781.jpg
[3] https://health.dexafit.com/ Lab locations in many states including multiple locations in California. Aug 3 2017.
[4] http://caloriecounter.io/calculators/daily-calories-calculator.html Aug. 4 2017.
[5] https://www.soul-cycle.com/about/find-your-soul/


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