As you may have already discovered yourself, it is actually fairly easy to develop your upper legs and your glutes just by doing plenty of weighted squats with dumbbells or a barbell, and maybe a few other complimentary exercises, such as leg extensions, for instance.
However it is a lot harder to develop your calf muscles because there are not many exercises that specifically target these muscles.
The most common exercise, and arguably the most effective for building your calf muscles is of course the calf raise, but it still takes a long time to see any results.
So I was interested to watch a video earlier today that demonstrates what can happen if you do a 30-day challenge that requires you to do 500 calf raises every single day:
You might assume that this is guaranteed to get results, but as you can see from the before and after photo at the end of the video, the results are totally underwhelming. Even if you look closely, there appears to be no difference whatsoever between the before and after photo.
The young man who undertook this challenge even admitted himself that it was a bit of a waste of time, and doesn’t really recommend that you do this 30-day challenge yourself.
However I honestly believe that you can get results with a 30-day calf raise challenge such as this one, but you have to do weighted calf raises with a full range of motion if you want to see some real results.
I have always found that it is better to place a piece of wood or a really thick book on the floor, place the front of your feet on this object with your heels touching the floor, and then lift yourself on to the tips of your toes as far as you can.
This is much better than the flat footed calf raises that Mathias Terkelsen was doing in the video above, but even this is a little easy, which is why it is a good idea to hold a heavy set of dumbbells or a stacked barbell to provide a lot more resistance.
This will make your calf muscles work a lot harder, and you can even do one-legged calf raises using dumbbells if you want to improve your results even further.
You will find that if you use weights and stand on some kind of object in order to get a full extension, you won’t necessarily need to do 500 calf raises a day. 100 or 200 should be more than sufficient because you should really feel it your calves immediately afterwards due to the extra resistance, and you always have the option of doing more if it becomes too easy.
The point is that 30 day challenges such as the one demonstrated in the video can be used to develop your calves, but you need to use weights and you need to get a full extension with every rep to ensure that you are not wasting your time.
(A word of warning – if you are using a heavily weighted barbell, it is a lot safer to do calf raises without using a platform of any kind because it is very easy to lose your balance when you are using really heavy weights.)