Exercise is important for many reasons and should not be viewed as a punishment, but rather an opportunity to better ones overall health and prevent future injuries, ailments, and diseases. Regular exercise does more than control weight or aid in weight loss; it also improves mood, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, and combats health conditions and diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety, arthritis, falls, and many types of cancer. Believe it or not, exercise can also be fun and a great way to socialize.
Most healthy adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. For those who claim to not have time to exercise, “Exercise snacks” which are very brief (≤ 1 minute) bouts of vigorous exercise performed periodically throughout the day is a time-efficient approach to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and reduce the negative impact of sedentary behaviour on cardiometabolic health. Quickly running up a set a stairs is a great way to reap these benefits.
Strength training at least 2 days per week is also recommended and has been shown to decrease blood pressure, manage blood sugar levels, promote greater flexibility and mobility, improve brain health, and makes your bones stronger. For general muscular fitness, selecting a weight that allows you to perform 8-15 repetitions for 1-3 sets while maintaining good form is recommended.
If you aren’t sure how to begin or need help selecting appropriate exercises, feel free to reach out to me for some assistance.
I was 16 years old when I began my journey towards and healthier body. Unfortunately, the approach I initially took was the opposite of healthy; excessive cardio, extreme caloric restriction, lack of carbohydrates, and the dependence on pre-workouts. I shake my head in shame when looking back at my initial approach. I did lose weight (some fat, a lot of muscle), but I was weak, tired, irritable, and definitely did not look healthy.
Like many others, especially women, I thought the best strategy was to restrict myself in one area, while excessively pushing myself in another. Eventually I spiraled down to a measly 98 pounds, experienced horrible stomach pains, couldn’t sleep, and I looked like I could snap like a twig at any moment. I went too far in the opposite direction, feeling just as unsatisfied as I was with a higher body fat percentage.
It reached the point where everything felt hard, even easy workouts. I lost motivation and couldn’t get a good night’s sleep due to soreness, and the pre-workouts. I wasn’t recovering. I felt like shit.
Luckily I got into lifting weights, and my desire to be strong started to outweigh my desire to be thin. This is where things starting coming together.
Fast forward 18 years and I’m still learning, but I do not restrict myself when it comes to food (that’s not to say I eat carelessly/ poorly) and my days of endless bouts of cardio are far behind me. I now know and respect carbohydrates as an extremely important fuel source for overall health and athletic performance.
I of course still perform aerobic exercise, but I keep it within an hour and make to sure refuel afterwards. Inline skating will forever be my favourite! However, I more often perform conditioning workouts that involves strength training, like circuits including the row machine, loaded carries, sled pulls and pushes.
I am not an endurance athlete, and if you aren’t either, don’t spend all your time performing excessive cardio. Instead, prioritize good sources of protein, lift heavy weights, walk often, reduce or eliminate alcohol, and learn as much as you can about the human body – your body. Respect yourself and things will come together.
If you are training for a fitness test that includes max push ups, make sure to note their protocol first to ensure you are performing them the way that is required prior to your test. Some fitness tests have you perform max push ups in a given time, or more likely, there won’t be a time limit but will be terminated if there is a pause in performance. Furthermore some protocols have you touch your chest to the floor or object on the ground. However what I have been seeing more commonly is that you have to achieve a 90 degree joint angle in your elbows in order for the rep to count, and a full lockout at the top.
Lets quickly talk about proper form. Starting in the prone position (on your stomach) with hands under the shoulders directly next to the chest, push up into a high plank position with the core engaged, glutes squeezed and feet together. While performing the push ups your arms will be like an airplane or an arrow, hips shouldn’t be sagging and the butt should not be sticking up in the air. If this is not possible you may have to first work on push ups from the knees or possibly on a wall and work your way to the floor.
Now, here are 6 suggestions towards helping you increase your repetitions while performing push ups:
Perform max push ups 2-3 times over the course of your day
This will allow you to get uncomfortably comfortable with the challenge of going to failure. It will also improve your muscular strength and endurance, as well as mental stamina.
2. Choose a number of reps and complete them throughout your day
Choose a number, say 200, and break them up over the course of the day. This is a great way to achieve volume without the accumulation of fatigue. Take the opportunity to emphasize good form for every rep.
3. Utilize weighted push-ups
Wearing a weight vest or a loaded backpack is a great way to increase your push up count. Obviously if you can perform multiple push ups under additional load, your body weight will feel much lighter. In my opinion you should be efficient at performing unloaded push ups first before adding load, and when you do, introduce weight in small increments.
4. Incorporate different variations
While there are tons of variations of push ups, utilizing wide grip push ups to emphasize the outer fibers of the pecs, narrow grip to emphasize the inner fibers and the triceps, as well as incline and decline for the upper and lower pecs are some great options for you to use.
5. Incorporate rest/pause methods, as well as mechanical drop sets
Mechanical drop sets – You start with the hardest or most difficult variation of an exercise, and as you reach technical failure, meaning you cannot maintain good form, you move to an easier variation. Since we are talking about push ups, one could start with weighted push ups, move to unweighted from the toes, then drop to the knees, then move onto incline push ups, and then could take it even further by pressing against a wall.
Myo reps – This is a specific rest/ pause training technique that involves taking a working set to the point of failure to ensure maximum muscle fiber activation, then maintaining this muscle fiber activation over a sustained period of time by using short rest periods. To do this you will perform 1 set of push ups to failure, then rest for 20 seconds, complete 3 more reps, repeat this pattern until you cannot even do 2 push ups.
6. Strengthen core muscles
Its not just the pecs involved in push ups, your mid and low back muscles and even your glutes need to be able to withstand high repetition push ups. Incorporating exercises such as variations of planks, dead bugs, good mornings, and bridges are some excellent choices that will carry over nicely when performing max push ups.
Rear foot elevated split squats, Bulgarian split squats, call them what you may as long as you include them in your training.
Unilateral exercises are important but sometimes overlooked, which is unfortunate because they offer many benefits. They help correct muscle imbalances, improves coordination, uses core muscles, and aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The Bulgarian split squat challenges all the muscles of the lower body and helps improve mobility while at the same time increases stability and balance. It is a great alternative to barbell back squats as it puts less strain on the low back, but can also be used as an accessory exercise to improve your back squat.
Personally, I utilize many different variations of the RFESS in addition to back and front squats. Over the course of the COVID-19 lockdown here in Ontario I did not have access to a squat rack. Instead, I decided to put my focus on unilateral training and slow eccentrics. The RFESS was at first extremely challenging, but quickly became my favourite unilateral lower body exercise.
There are many variations of the RFESS, but before you add external weight should master your own bodyweight first. In my opinion you should be able to perform at least 10 smooth, controlled reps with a pause at the bottom on each leg before grabbing dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell.
Despite the variation, the set up and execution of this exercise is the same. Using a bench or chair or box no higher than knee height, elevate your rear leg by placing the top of your foot on the bench. I try to find the correct placement of my front leg before doing this, but sometimes I still need to adjust and wiggle around a little bit. I use a narrow stance to avoid pulling groin muscles and lean my torso forward for proper hip hinge mechanics. As I descend my knee travels on tops of my toes, but not excessively past them. You may have to play around a bit and find the ideal position for yourself.
Here are a few of the variations I regularly utilize below. I encourage you to add this exercise to your repertoire.
September 1st, 2015 I made the move from Brampton to North Bay, Ontario. I came in light of new experiences and the opportunity to learn how to Olympic style weight lift from one of the best coaches, Larry Sheppard.
My desire to get in shape started when I was 16 years old, and now at 28; I have learned so much through education, personal successes, and failures. However, just when I thought I had a good grasp on everything; my style of training has been completely flipped in pursuit of becoming an athlete.
For as long as I can remember I worked out to look good. Vanity and lack of self esteem pushed me towards the commercial facilities where mirrors line every wall, and platforms are non existent. I’ve worked out in gyms that don’t allow chalk, and have had employees tell me I can’t drop the weights as I was performing heavy deadlifts.
I dipped my toes in the physique competitions – but in all honestly they were super amateur. It’s something I am proud of in the sense it took hard work and courage; but at the same time I roll my eyes because it just wasn’t me.
I wish I had known someone in the powerlifting or weightlifting community 10 years ago; but would-a-should-a-could-a; this is where I am at now and thats what matters. I began learning the snatch and clean & jerk in early September 2015.
What is the Snatch?
The Snatch is the first of the two Olympic lifts to be contested, followed by the clean & jerk. The aim is the lift a loaded bar from the floor to overhead, in one smooth, continuous motion.
The athlete begins by setting themselves up so that the bar is directly over their metatarsals with their feet hip width apart; toes turned out slightly. A wide “hook grip” is used on the bar (fingers on top of thumbs), and the arms straight with the shoulders directly over the bar, or slightly in front of it. The thighs should be almost parallel to the floor (depending on femur length), and the back remains straight and tight with extension in the thoracic vertebrae. The chest should be open and head titled back.
“Lift off” begins the moment the bar is separated from the floor as the athlete then moves into the “first pull.” During this phase the lifter begins to extend their knees and moves their hips upward while keeping a constant back angle relative to the floor. Centre of gravity shifts towards the heels as the lifter pulls the bar close to their body. The bar begins to accelerate at the end of this phase as they “transition” to position themselves appropriately for the second pull. During this transition is where you’ll often see the “double-knee” bend.
The “second pull” is an explosive movement that is executed through the extension of the hips, knees, and ankles (triple extension); followed by a strong elevation of the shoulders (shrug). This is where the bar will “brush” the hips and feet leave the ground to quickly move into the squat position. The “turnover” phase occurs as the lifter begins to pull themselves under the bar, and the “catch phase” occurs the moment the lifters feet have landed on the platform, catching the bar overhead with arms locked out. It is finished only when the lifter shows control of the bar by standing up and bringing the feet together.
What is the clean & jerk?
The clean & jerk is the second lift to be contested and is comprised of two stages which also has the athlete lift the bar from the floor to an overhead position.
They begin by setting their feet under their hips and by grabbing the bar just outside their legs using a “hook grip.” The bar is lifted to the top of the knees where the athlete then performs the “triple extension” through explosive extension of the hips, knees, and ankles; followed by a big shrug. The aim here is to get the bar as high as possible before dropping into the squat and receiving the bar in the “racked” position (bar sits in front of the neck resting on the anterior deltoids). The lifter then stands back up and readjusts their grip width in preparation for the jerk.
The jerk begins where the clean finishes; with the bar across the shoulders and the back vertical. The lifter dips just a few inches by flexing the knees; then through explosive extension of the knees the barbell is propelled upwards off the shoulders. The athlete pushes the bar with their arms and quickly drops under by splitting their feet in a lunge type fashion (one forward and one back). The bar is received overhead with the arms straight, and once stable; the lifter recovers from the split position by bringing their feet back together.
Ofcouse these explanations may be missing some aspects, but you get a good idea of what I have been up to over the past 8 months. I have competed in 3 competitions thus far and took 3rd place in my weight class in my last competiton on April 9, 2015. I still have a long ways to go before I am even close to competing on a more serious level (these girls are strong!!!), but I am just happy to have found something new and exciting. It feels great to be more concerned over how I perform rather than how I look.
Most importantly, I have been working hard to learn how to coach these lifts. I have engulfed myself in everything weightlifting and succeeded passing my level one weightlifting certification with the NCCP. I will have a second diploma in strength and sports condidtioning in a couple weeks time and I hope to find work in the health promotion and coaching fields.
As humans we have an extraordinary ability to “see” something that isn’t there. When a vision is so strong coupled with the desire to achieve that picture, it will happen. I used to look in the mirror and only see what I didn’t like, I’d put myself down and then walk away feeling like a pile of shit – useless right? Now I do my best to love what I see, and then take it a step further and see what isn’t there – yet. My butts bigger, delts rounder, and quads are popping. I truly believe that this technique will have you seeing the real thing sooner than without it.
2. THE ALL OR NON RESPONSE SHOULD BE FOR MUSCLE RECRUITMENT ONLY
When a motor neuron sends a signal to a motor unit, it will contract all the muscle fibres it innervates; or none at all. Adversely, you planned an intense hour long workout but life just got in the way. Now you have 20 minutes – skip it? NO! Pick the biggest lift for that day and go hammer it as many times as you can in the time you have. The short workouts add up, as do ones that are missed, which do you prefer? Same should be applied to your nutrition, if you ate a piece of cake for Betty’s birthday today don’t use this as a reason to keep eating junk.
3. EAT FOR YOUR GOALS/DAILY NEEDS
This one I need to do in point form because here are the facts:
If you want to get big, you have to eat big.
IIFYM is a load of shit, eat good food.
If you want to lean out, you have to burn more than you consume.
Not eating at all, or not eating all day, or going too long between meals will not help you AT ALL when it comes to achieving weight loss.
Lean proteins are your muscles best friend.
Rice, oats, veggies, fruits, quinoa, couscous are the best carb options
Healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, coconut oils, avocado, and fish oils are absolutely vital.
Pick up a nutrition book, this isn’t your car we are talking about – you can always get a new car.
4. STOP WORKING OUT – START TRAINING
I WISH someone had offered me this tip when I first started to exercise. Like most, vanity and the fact I was uncomfortable in my own skin propelled me to start moving more. However when I stopped working out and started TRAINING is when everything really came together. Find specific exercises / lifts, a sport, something physical to get really good at; then plan your workouts around those moves, and others that help improve it (i.e. Deadlift: deficit sumo deadlift, deadlift from pins, barbell bent rows with torso angled at 90 degrees…).
5. TRAINING WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND SUCKS
I didn’t have time to make, never mind drink my green tea. Yet I had to wait 20 minutes for him to go through his 50 mobility corrective bullshit exercises. By then my warm up was done and that mental peak had come and gone. I had weight loaded on me before I was ready and he was totally annoyed with the fact my bar height/weights were so different from his. He’d then go on to be a loud jackass and treat me like one of his juiced up buddies. Worst of all, God forbid we’d stick around to do anything extra because it wasn’t in “the plan.” Needless to say we don’t speak anymore, and the fact we hated each other in the weight room definitely contributed to that. Your gym partner should compliment your style of training, not completely piss you off and make you feel small. #itsmyblogicansaywhatiwant #yeaheisadouchebag #totallybiased
6. IF IT’S FOR ANYONE BUT YOU, IT WILL TURN INTO “WORK”
If entering a fitness competition motivates you to train harder – great! If your boyfriend likes big glutes – awesome! If you have to be strong for your job – fantastic! However, the more you train for reasons other than those that hold true to yourself, it’s only a matter of time before that spark fizzles.
7. YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE
Letting the size of your ego inflate along with your biceps is so very, very unattractive. It’s great if your new physique makes you feel like Hercules, but there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Please don’t turn into to one of those people that scare newbies away. It’s about overall health for most people; they don’t give a shit how much you can bench.
8. HAVE A BEER AND A SLICE OF PIZZA
Don’t misconstrue this point; I would never try to sabotage your goals. I myself am a very healthy eater. I eat to Train and I am lucky because I find true enjoyment in doing so. However, there are days when I’ve eaten all my lean protein and leafy greens but still have this gut feeling I need something more. Only something greasy will satisfy this, and without going overboard, I feel like that cold beer and slice of pizza is the punch in the face my metabolism needs once in a while. However if you post your “cheat meal” on social media, I’ll then want to punch you in the face.
9. FOOD SCALE IS A GOOD IDEA SHORT TERM
The food scale is an excellent tool to get a good grasp on portion sizes. You may be surprised that 15g of peanut butter isn’t the size of your fist (unfortunately). Through weighing my food I have learned what serving sizes look like and it was the reality check my eating habits needed. Unfortunately it got to the point where I felt like I had to weigh everything, all the time. This is unrealistic unless you plan on busting out the scale at restaurants, and it’s a habit that can eventually turn unhealthy. Learn how to “eyeball” it and only use the scale if it’s really needed.
I just wrapped up the first phase of “The Complete Power Look Program” that I picked up off of one of my favourite training sites – TNation. The first phase was 4 weeks in length and I am now transitioning into the second, with 3 phases all together.
WHY I CHOSE THIS PROGRAM:
4 years ago I transitioned from endurance training into heavy strength training in the pursuit of lots of lean muscle mass and continual increases in strength. I build my programs around the 4 main lifts – Squat; bench press; deadlift; and overhead press (push-press/military press). This program is built around these king exercises for 10 weeks, with changes to the reps/sets and the accessory exercises every 3 or 4 weeks.
This program uses the front squat instead of the back squat, and the push-press instead of the military press; which I absolutely love because my spine could use a break from heavy back squats, and I will benefit from the push-press since the military press is one my weakest exercises; the push-press will allow me to move more weight and use the eccentric phase to help build strength.
I chose this program to learn more about proper strength training programming. The use of % RM is something fairly new to me, as well as the manipulation of the set/rep schemes each week.
I have yet to incorporate exercises to correct weak areas in my main lifts such as the deficit deadlift, floor press, and top-half press from pins. Therefor, I can’t wait to see my new 1RMs at the end of the program.
MY CURRENT 1RMs
MY CURRENT 1RMS
WEEKS 1-4: My thoughts and progress
Figuring out my weights for the accessory exercises, along with mastering the correct movement pattern for new exercises, always contributes to the challenge during my first week on a new program.
The deadlift from a 2 inch deficit challenged me the most; the increased forward lean made it harder to sit back on my heels. With that said, I feel like my low back and quads were more taxed than usual, but the whole posterior chain benefited from an increased range of motion.
Getting a solid push-press technique down took me a few tries. Learning how much momentum to use, along with keeping a solid stance took time, but I improved immensely as the weeks progressed.
The bent-over barbell row with torso angled at 90 degrees attacked my mid/low traps and biceps.
The paused front squat was a fantastic incorporation of time under tension and my quads benefited.
On squat day, arms remain in the front squat grip position for almost the entire workout – very hard on the wrists if you aren’t used to it.
The Bulgarian split squat with a front squat grip was new to me, and it just made me love the split squat even more.
I have already seen an increase in the size of my triceps thanks to the floor presses, and significant anterior chain development thanks to the front squat and push-press.
I no longer work-out; I TRAIN.
WEEKS 5-7: My thoughts and progress
I thought the deadlift from a 2 inch deficit was hard; and then came the sumo deadlift from a 2 inch deficit – holy shit, hands down the most challenging exercise for me this phase.
The wide-grip bench press initially made me nervous (not-so-good left shoulder), but I was surprisingly stronger than I thought I would be. It’s too bad my right side is noticeably weaker despite it being the more stable of the two (I’m a southpaw).
Deadlift from pins (pins just below knees), blasted my mid/low traps and lats.
Week 5 – day after push-press, my triceps were extremely sore due to the half push-press; I loved that one, along with the 1/2 bench press.
Week 6 – the night after the 3×5 front squats my quads and anterior delts were screaming! I continue to see immense anterior chain development and I love it.
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: USE OF GUARDS OR PINS. I’ll admit, I was an idiot and actually performed a couple moves incorrectly and felt it right away. Read the whole program and make sure you understand each exercise before walking into the weight room (unlike me).
Week 7 – Front squats; my legs were feeling strong and my confidence was going up as quick as the weight that day. Also, I knew I had made gains because resting the bar on my anterior delts was less uncomfortable = shoulder development, woot woot!!
Sumo deadlift is still blowing me away (I made a lot of notes about this one, so I’m not kidding).
Noticeable development of my “top shelf” a.k.a. Upper Traps.
On average, these workouts have been taking me 30-45 minutes to complete. I stick around afterwards to bang out conditioning work such as BARBELL COMPLEXES or I practice aspects of the Olympic lifts, which I hope to soon conquer.
If you have a look at THE COMPLETE POWER LOOK PROGRAM you’ll see that Christian Thibaudeau offered exercises for optional bonus work. I am always game for more, but I decided I would choose the exercises (it’s hard for me to follow a plan designed by someone else and not have a say at all). Moreover, you’ll notice there isn’t any direct ab training included in this program. I add 1 or 2 weighted ab exercises after training, but make sure not to overdue it – this program is incredibly heavy on the core!
This is me back in January of this year finally hitting one of my long term goals – 200lb deadlift. I hope this program takes that number up a notch, or two.
– The study authors used a longitudinal population study to see whether muscle grip strength can predict the chances of getting a range of diseases.
– 142,861 people across 17 high, medium, and low income countries were included in this study.
– The grip test could be useful in low income countries.
– Researches said their findings showed that muscle strength is a strong predictor of having a heart attack or stroke.
– The study suggests that people with low muscle strength may be at an increased risk of dying prematurely.
Side notes: Weight training will increase your grip strength and chances of living a longer, healthy life. It’s not about looking good at the beach, or flexing a ridiculously bronzed body on stage – it’s about keeping your cholesterol, blood and glucose levels in check; having energy to get through your day; independence; confidence; and ultimately freedom.
Your abs are your abs, your core consists of all but your limbs. This means the glutes; hips; back; chest and abs are all part of the core. If your core isn’t strong, don’t expect your arms and legs to be.
Heavy carries are the best for adding thickness and increasing overall strength
Waiters, suitcase, and farmers walks are some of the best exercises you can perform to increase size and strength of all the core muscles. Just grab a heavy weight in one hand, or both, and take x amount of steps. Make sure to keep your chest proud, back up straight, and shoulder blades together.
Train your abdominals like any other muscle group
Planking for days or performing hundreds of crunches is boring and no good long-term; it also isn’t a true determinate of core strength. 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps of weighted exercises such as cable crunches, reverse cable crunches; barbell pull-over leg lifts and landmine 180s are your best bet.
Heavy deadlifts and squats aren’t enough
I took a break from direct ab training taking on the notion that performing heavy squats and deadlifts every week were enough. Wrong!! I noticed the definition in my mid-section slowly diminishing and soon realized that isolating the rectus abdominus through weighted crunching exercises, and activation of the deep transverse abdominus with the use of such exercises as the weighted plank are absolutely vital to a good, strong core.
Both anti-rotation exercises AND crunches should have a place in your program
A lot of trainers seem to be on the “anti” high when it comes to ab training, and for some clients using anti-flexion and anti-extension exercises may be the best thing for their abilities or current condition. However, in order to work a muscle effectively it should be worked in all the planes of motion it is capable of; therefor crunching is necessary!
I was younger and naïve once, I used to be so impressed with 6 pack abs. Now I’ve realised that crack heads have 6 packs; which means your body fat just has be low enough to see them, not that you’re in great shape. Now what impresses me most is a nice, thick, bulging 6 pack that can be seen even with a higher percentage of body fat. What gets me even more than this however are back muscles that are so well developed and defined I could label them.
I hope these tips save you some time and frustration if you’re on the quest towards solid and impressive core muscles. Keep Moving!!!
Lately I have been totally neglecting an important muscle group that I used to hit all the time – calves.
By the time I am done my leg workout, the last thing I feel like doing is working on my calves. There’s just something about working the not-so-big muscles at the end of a heavy workout that bores the crap out of me, and I often head into it half assed, or not at all (shaking my head in shame right now). With that said, I have to change my approach and once again get excited about making those calves grow.
One of the rules of training is to exercise any lagging body parts first in your workout. Instead of waiting until I am exhausted after my workout; I am going to start training my calves first thing while I’m fresh. I can foresee this being hard for me because I’m that girl who will race you to the squat if it’s free, so putting that second will be challenging.
Also, I know that calves respond nicely to high volume. I normally won’t do anything less than 20 reps at a time when training calves and perform anywhere between 4-6 sets. That’s not to say I am going super light with the weight, I still want to make it as heavy as possibly while still being able to effectively go through the full range of motion and emphasize a squeeze at the top of each rep; if I can’t do this, I have gone too heavy (I’m talking to those people who load up 5 plates a side on the standing calf press, like wtf?).
The Gastrocnemius and the Soleus are the two major muscles of the posterior leg. Together they make up that nice bulge and run the entire length of the lower leg, connecting behind the knee and at the heel. The Gastrocnemius crosses both the knee and ankle joint, while the soleus just crosses the ankle joint. This tells me that I need to be training my calves from both a standing and seated position; hence the standing and seated calf press machines.
On another note, I’m big on angles. I know that slightly angling my toes inwards will emphasize outer portion of my calves, and turning them slightly outwards will emphasize the inner portion. I used to make the mistake of performing calf raises on extreme angles, but I have come to learn that this will prevent me from achieving maximal calf activation and likely puts excess strain on my ligaments. With that said, do not over angle your feet, or don’t bother using that technique at all; everything will be hit while keeping the toes straight forward anyways.
In my defense, I may not currently stick around to work my calves at the gym, but I do focus on them often while walking and standing. You really don’t need external weight to make those puppies grow; body weight will work wonders too.
For whatever reason, I have always been one to walk on my tip-toes, specifically while making dinner or concentrating on something while standing. I also love playing with my gate while walking and will push forcefully off the balls on my feet (especially while walking uphill) to really get my calves involved. These techniques have resulted in strong calves without the heavy weight. It also allows me to train them more frequently, which is also a great way to make them grow since your calves are great at handling high volume and frequency.
Try this Calf workout with me and let’s see if we can make some gains:
Bodyweight standing calf raise 1 x 20
Standing Calf Raise Machine 5 x 20-30
Seated Calf 5 x 20-30
Single Leg Body Weight Calf Raise (do not bend knee and use one finger to balance yourself on an external object) 2 x 20-30 each leg
Note: Do not bounce or jerk the weight at the bottom of the movement. Each rep should be done with control; slow descend (negative), full stretch, and full contraction (squeeze) at the top.