Connect with us

Diamonds that are offered by the best jewelers are developed by millions of pounds of pressure and by a good deal of time. While the calf muscles have the potential to look like huge diamonds, it sometimes feels like great calf development takes a couple of millennium to develop. If your lower leg diamonds are a bit flat, you can build some nice peaks with standing barbell calf raises. This basic barbell exercise is not fancy, and it does not require any special machines, but it will selectively add muscle mass and greatly enhance the appearance and shape of your legs. In addition to looking great, well-developed calf muscles will help you jump higher or run a bit faster for all your activities.

Calf Structure and Function

The gastrocnemius muscle forms most of the diamond-like shape. The upper and middle regions of the medial gastrocnemius form the medial part of the diamond just below the knee. The lateral gastrocnemius forms the outer part of the diamond. The soleus muscle sits just below the gastrocnemius muscle and it is the final component to this diamond. The medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius muscle fuse together at a common attachment and attach to the heel bone (calcaneus) via a thick tendon (Achilles tendon).

The soleus muscle fibers create the lowest part of the calf diamond. Training the soleus muscle will also push the gastrocnemius away from the bones of the lower leg, and thereby enhance the shape of the calf. The soleus fibers are visible on either side of the Achilles tendon between the bottom edge of the gastrocnemius and the heel. Thus, to fully complete both upper and lower parts of the diamond, the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius must be symmetrically developed.

The primary function of lateral and medial gastrocnemius muscles and the soleus muscle is to plantar flex the foot at the ankle joint (i.e., they raise the heel). Because both heads of the gastrocnemius muscle cross the knee joint they can assist in movements that flex the knee joint (e.g., lying leg curls for the hamstring muscles). However, these muscles are unable to exert maximal forces at the ankle joint and the knee joint simultaneously. If your wish is to maximally activate the gastrocnemius, your knee must be straight during heel (calf) raises. Straight knees will tighten this muscle and slightly stretched muscles will always contribute to force production more completely than muscles that are not tight and stretched. Standing barbell calf raises are among the oldest calf exercises but it is still among the best back-to-basics calf exercise that exists.

Standing Calf (Heel) Raise

1. Place an Olympic barbell on a squat rack and load it with a weight that is similar to the weight you use for barbell squats.

2. Place a six-inch block near the front of the squat rack. This block should be about 4-6 inches wide to provide an adequate base. Make sure that the surface of the block and the soles of your shoes are not too smooth or slippery.

3. Place the bar across the upper trapezius above your shoulders, as if you were setting up to do a barbell squat. You can wrap the bar with a towel if you wish.

4. Take two steps forward from the rack and step up on the block with both feet.

5. Position the balls of both feet (not your heels) on the foot block about shoulder-width part and straighten your knees. The weight should be transferred directly down your spine, but do not let your buttocks extend backward.

6. Rise up on your toes as high as possible, and hold this position for at least 1 second. The higher you can lift your heels, the better.

7. Lower your heels and make an attempt to touch them to the floor (which should be impossible, otherwise the block is not high enough). You may need to lean a bit forward to keep your balance as you lower your heels, but be careful to control your body so that you don’t lean too far. Make the stretch slow and deliberate and hold the stretch for 2 to 3 seconds at the bottom position.

8. Continue to the next rep and rise as high as possible, but make sure the knees do not bend on the upward movement.

Pointing the toes straight ahead will activate both heads of the gastrocnemius about equally; however, if you tend to roll to one side or the other when you go up on your toes, the side you roll to will achieve the preferential work (because it shortens the most). Try to completely get up on the balls of your feet on each rep at least on the first part of your set.

Once your calves become fatigued and you cannot complete another rep, you can squeeze out a couple of more reps by flexing your knees and then quickly straightening them on the way up. This will help to boost the weight up a little more for these final two “cheat” reps of your last set or two. Another approach to push fatigued calves a bit further is to complete 4-5 partial reps once you are unable to complete a full rep. Simply go up as high as you can, hold this for a second, and then drop as low as you can to get a super stretch.

You will find a huge difference in your calf shape in only a few months, but, just like real diamonds, it will take several more months of hard work to get them to impeccable condition. Even if your calves are not the polished gems at the moment, you will soon be sending your baggy track pants to Goodwill and showing off your lower-legged new diamonds.


Ciolac EG, Garcez-Leme LE and Greve JM. Resistance exercise intensity progression in older men. Int J Sports Med, 31: 433-438, 2010.

Ekblom MM. Improvements in dynamic plantar flexor strength after resistance training are associated with increased voluntary activation and V-to-M ratio. J Appl Physiol, 109: 19-26, 2010.

Hebert-Losier K, Newsham-West RJ, Schneiders AG and Sullivan SJ. Raising the standards of the calf-raise test: a systematic review. J Sci Med Sport, 12: 594-602, 2009.

Hebert-Losier K, Schneiders AG, Newsham-West RJ and Sullivan SJ. Scientific bases and clinical utilisation of the calf-raise test. Phys Ther Sport, 10: 142-149, 2009.

Moore, KL and AF Dalley. Clinically-oriented Anatomy, Fourth edition. Baltimore, Lippincott Williams & Williams, 571-592, 1999.

Riemann BL, Limbaugh GK, Eitner JD and Lefavi RG. Medial and Lateral Gastrocnemius Activation Differences During Heel-Raise Exercise with Three Different Foot Positions. J Strength Cond Res, 24:2309-2314, 2010.

Young W, Elias G and Power J. Effects of static stretching volume and intensity on plantar flexor explosive force production and range of motion. J Sports Med Phys Fitness, 46: 403-411, 2006.

The post How to Get Bigger Calves appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More




By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: How to Get Bigger Calves
Sourced From:
Published Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2021 14:31:53 +0000




Did you miss our previous article…

Mens Health

Failures in Business: The Unseen Stepping Stones to Success

Equally significant is the need for businesses to remain vigilant about broader shifts in both domestic and global markets. Macro factors, whether they’re economic trends, geopolitical events, or emerging global challenges, can have profound ripple effects, impacting even the most niche industries. By staying abreast of these larger market dynamics, businesses can better anticipate risks, adapt to challenges, and capitalize on new opportunities. In an ever-globalizing world, the ability to navigate both the nuances of one’s immediate market and the broader global shifts is what separates thriving enterprises from those that falter.

TACTICAL Takeaway: Stay sharp and monitor your industry’s trends. When things shift, being ahead in understanding consumer habits offers you the flexibility to adjust and succeed. Things can change rapidly and the sooner you have insight into consumer behavior changes, the more opportunities you have to pivot.


Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

The sports nutrition industry is an interesting, fast-paced vertical where what’s old can quickly become new again but also what worked yesterday likely won’t work tomorrow.

It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s spot-on. Take creatine as an example. It hit the shelves in the early 1990s and quickly became a hit. Yet, a decade later, its demand had waned. Jump another decade to today, and it’s back more popular than ever.

TACTICAL Takeaway: The key for businesses is knowing when to go all-in on a product and when to ease off, as it’s the ever-changing consumer market that truly drives demand.

Never Rest On Your Laurels

Just because something “has always worked” doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to work (or continue to work as efficiently).

In the dynamic world of business, the saying “never rest on your laurels” holds more truth than ever. What propelled a company to success yesterday might not necessarily be the formula for its tomorrow’s success. Market demands, technological innovations, and consumer preferences are in a perpetual state of evolution. While a particular strategy or product might have been a game-changer at one point, there’s no guarantee that it will remain relevant or effective in the future. This inherent unpredictability underscores the need for adaptability and forward-thinking in any business endeavor.

This reality pushes companies to be proactive, always forecasting and adjusting to the next potential shift. Relying solely on past successes can lull businesses into complacency, risking obsolescence in the face of changing tides.

TACTICAL Takeaway: To remain competitive and relevant, businesses need to cultivate a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and agility. In essence, the past can inform and guide, but it’s the vision and readiness for the future that will determine enduring success.

Embracing The Journey

To any entrepreneur reading this: the road to success is rarely a straight one. At times, it may seem like every decision leads to a dead end. But remember, every misstep is an opportunity to learn, grow, and pivot.

The trials you face in business are not meant to discourage you. Instead, they are meant to shape you, refine your vision, and improve your strategy. As the age-old adage goes, “smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” It’s the challenges that will arm you with the experience and resilience necessary for long-term success.

So, the next time you face a setback, remember that your next big success could be just around the corner. Embrace failure as a part of the process, learn from your mistakes, and continue pushing forward with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the journey. With so much time spent working and navigating challenges, it’s essential to find joy and have fun along the way.


Instagram @aaronsingerman

Instagram @redcon1

The post Failures in Business: The Unseen Stepping Stones to Success appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More


By: Team FitRx
Title: Failures in Business: The Unseen Stepping Stones to Success
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2023 18:53:06 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading

Mens Health

Negativity Is a Losing Mindset

By Marc Lobliner


‘A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.’

I coach my son’s U11 football team. I am just the line coach, but the dudes who coach with me are also in the same mindset as I am.

Positivity wins.

Let’s start off with last weekend’s game.

It’s 0-0, the opening kickoff is a short one and we fall on it.

You can hear our coaches getting our kids fired up and getting the offense ready for play. POSITIVE statements. A lot of “Let’s Go!” and energy.

On the other sideline, you hear the coaches angrily yelling at their players for the execution of the kick.

First play from scrimmage, our line makes every block and opens the outside for our running back to score.

You hear their coaches furiously yelling as we celebrate.

We celebrated and our fullback punched in the extra point.

After the kickoff, our defense held them to four and out. We got the ball again, touchdown. Extra point good.

14-0 in two offensive plays.s

Their coaches were still mad. Angry. Yelling.

We smiled, encouraged our kids, and ended up with a 42-0 mercy-rule win.

Our players are awesome, but not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest.

It’s all about culture and what you’re playing for.

We demand a lot of our athletes. Learn your plays, DO YOUR JOB, and we will win.

Every Tuesday after we win, I buy my linemen doughnuts and give them to everyone, telling them that a random lineman (changes weekly) said everyone deserves doughnuts. We don’t punish every mistake with extra running and up-downs. We focus on what we do RIGHT, and not what we do wrong.

The other game one of my linemen got called for a hold. He came off the field expecting to be scolded. I put my arm around him and said, “What happened?” He explained it and then I said, “You’re better than that guy, you don’t need to hold. Show the world how dominant you are!” He didn’t get one call the rest of the game and crushed it.

This is also my management style at work. Managers are usually garbage. You can do 1,000 things right and you mess up once and your manager attacks you.

556494762 fullsizerender 4


Employees typically respond better to positivity, and numerous studies have found that positive reinforcement and a positive work environment can significantly improve employee motivation, performance, and well-being. Here are some reasons why, supported by various studies:

Increased Productivity: According to a study conducted by the University of Warwick, happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers were 10% less productive. The research shows that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity.

Better Decision-Making Abilities: Research from the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center found that individuals who were induced to feel positive emotions were better at problem-solving and making decisions than those in a neutral state.

Boosts Creativity: Positive emotions widen attention and allow people to think more broadly and openly. This is discussed in the “broaden-and-build theory” by Barbara Fredrickson, which suggests that positive emotions broaden an individual’s momentary thought-action repertoires.

Enhanced Team Collaboration: A study from MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory found that teams that communicate effectively, with members actively reaching out and connecting with all other team members, were more successful. Positive interactions contribute to this dynamic.

Reduced Employee Turnover: According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a positive work environment and culture encourages employees to stay longer in their jobs, thus reducing turnover rates. This is KEY at where our staff has mostly been there for 5+ years!

Better Health & Well-being: A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that positive work environments and low job stress are linked to better health outcomes for employees, which in turn can lead to reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.

Increased Engagement: According to Gallup, workers who are engaged and have high well-being are more likely to be attached to their organizations and are more productive.

Enhanced Learning & Flexibility: Research in the field of positive psychology has shown that positive emotions can facilitate adaptive thinking and flexibility in cognitive processing. This helps employees adapt to new situations and learn more effectively.

Higher Levels of Satisfaction: A study by BrightHR found that happiness is a key indicator of job satisfaction. Happy employees are more likely to report high levels of satisfaction with their jobs than those who report low levels of happiness.

Creates a Positive Feedback Loop: A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that experiencing positive emotions leads to higher levels of resilience, which in turn leads to increased positive emotions. This positive feedback loop has a myriad of beneficial effects in the workplace.

How about parenting?

Same thing. PRAISE YOUR CHILD! Make sure they know you love them. While bad behavior should be addressed, be sure to also reward good behavior. Kid had a good day at school? Get him ice cream! Tell him you love him. Say you’re proud of him.

As my mother said, “You catch more flies with honey than with crap.”

And one can’t deny the lifelong impact of a good coach. As the sign in the office says, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”

Be positive and be a winner!

556494785 img 1682 2

Instagram @tigerfitness

Instagram @marclobliner

The post Negativity Is a Losing Mindset appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More


By: Team FitRx
Title: Negativity Is a Losing Mindset
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2023 19:37:20 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading

Mens Health


Panatta Super Rowing Page 1

The post PANATTA SUPER ROWING MACHINE appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

Read More


By: Team FitRx
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2023 18:57:30 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…

Continue Reading