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Training Calves A Matter Of Technique

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The basic function of the calves (Gastrocnemius and soleus) are to assist in walking, running and balance thus they consist of predominantly slow twitch muscle fiber. This slow twitch muscle fiber allows the calves to function for extended periods of time with a minimal amount of fatigue. On the same token calves are equipped with very few fast twitch muscle fibers, many gym goers debate this fact because the calves are relatively strong. The exceptional strength of the calves is due to leverage system the body has in place to extend the foot; the tendon is inserted unusually far from the fulcrum (pivot point) thus providing more leverage. If the calves had a large number of fast twitch muscle fiber they would be capable of explosive movements. Try a vertical leap just using your calves, that's right it's not happening. One of the defining characteristics of fast twitch muscle fiber is its ability to produce explosive force. When training calves perform slow, controlled, higher repetition exercises to stimulate development of the slow twitch muscle fiber. Due to the fact that the calves have very few fast twitch muscle fiber they will not respond to training techniques that are designed to stimulate fast twitch muscle fiber such as an exercise using explosive movements and high weights that result in muscle failure at the 4-6 rep range.


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