BODYBUILDING BASICS & TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Why should you choose bodybuilding? Hereīs five good reasons:
1. Bodybuilding is the best way to shape your body.
2. Bodybuilding fits for all.
3. Bodybuilding is the fastest way to increase strength.
4. Bodybuilding reduces stress.
5. Bodybuilding teaches you to eat healthier.
Notice: Iīm not personal trainer or supplement guru, hereīs just a few things
that have helped me to get started with bodybuilding.
Tips for beginners:
Choose a gym with good variety of equipment, including plenty of free weights.
Find a gym with good atmosphere. Check out what kind of people are training in
the gym, you might not like to train in a hardcore type powerlifting gym located
in a basement! If music motivates you check out what kind of music is played in
gym you intend to train in. Location is very important factor too, a gym near
you is a good choice because you can save time and some money when you donīt
have to travel a lot. Price is important too, some gyms have cheaper prices for
students, unemployed or erderly people - check them out. Check out showers,
locker rooms, sauna, warm up places, mirrors and stuff like that. What the heck
do I need mirrors you might think. For example you can use mirrors for checking
your technique. Gym owners and instructors should be polite and understanding.
If you need help they should help you.
There are fast and slow developers. Your genes have a lot to do with how your
body will respond to your training. Itīs how far you are able to go, not how
fast. When your mind believes you can develop, your body will respond. In the
beginning of your bodybuilding 'career' you will develop quite quickly because
your body isnīt accustomed to the new stress on the muscles. First you need to
build mass and strength. I think the toughest part of starting bodybuilding is
to go into a gym. Itīs very easy to make up somekind of excuses not to go.
Sometimes itīs very hard for me to go to gym if Iīve taken off a week or two!
Donīt be afraid of those big guys lifting big weights. Be yourself and do youīre
own workouts and donīt be afraid to ask help if you need it. Donīt use heavy
weights until youīre absolutely sure you can handle it. Keep in mind that you
donīt build big muscles overnight. You need time to develop. Think of the
positive reasons why you want to bodybuild.
Free weights demand more of your body. Exploring a whole range of different
exercises gives you a much better idea as to which exercises work best for you
and which donīt. This will lead eventually to a much better understanding of
your own body and of how to get the best results. Remember to use correct form
all the time. Change your training program as frequently as necessary. Change
your set-and-reps scheme, vary the rest time between sets, switch order of
bodyparts and exercises and choose different exercises. Use basic barbell and
dumbbell movements to build your mass but keep in mind that machines offer a
safe alternative. Train every bodypart once a week. The less complicated you
make things the easier it is to do it. Avoid any exercises that cause you pain.
LEARN TO LISTEN YOUR BODY:
Some days are better than others. The mind must be trained and developed along
with the body. If you think you can, then you can. Positive expectations will
allow you to grow and develop. Your mind is created like your body, step by
step. Thereīs no point in working out if your bodyīs telling you to rest. If
you donīt feel like going to gym donīt go it is simple as that, do something
else and go to gym next day when you have more energy to pump some weights.
Think positive and remember that an active body is a healthy body.
CHOOSING AN IDOL:
Choosing an idol is one good way to search for inspiration. Choose a
bodybuilder, powerlifter, athlete or a person whom you would like to emulate.
There are many advantages to have a training partner. You have somebody on hand
to spot you when you are lifting heavy weights and when youīre feeling like
forcing out extra reps. Donīt train with anyone unless he/she really helps you.
Pick up the right kind training partner, your training partner should be in the
same level that you are and he/she should have almost the same goals that you
have. Each training partner has his/her own particular value, so you may want to
train with more than one training partner. A training partner who helps you make
faster and better progress is a good one.
A training partner should be able to motivate you much more than you could
motivate yourself. I think that you must get along very well with your training
partner and you should think similarly about training. Choose a reliable
training partner, when you need him/her he/she should be there when you need
him/her and the same goes for you too. When youīre starting out, training
partner is good to be there because you can correct each otherīs form and your
can push each other to new limits. You and your training partner should create
your own little world. You and your training partner can feed off each otherīs
energy, creating the kind of intensity that will push you beyond your limits.
Conversely, the wrong training partner will sap your strength and drain you of
motivation. Your training partner should care about your efforts and will be
there, providing support, energy and motivation when you really need it.
Here are few examples; day 1 - delts & triceps, day 2 - back, day 3 - off,
day 4 - chest & biceps, day 5 - legs & calves, day 6 - off, day 7 -
repeat or off.
Or day 1 - chest, biceps & triceps, day 2 - legs & calves, day 3 - off,
day 4 - back & delts, day 5 - off, day 6 - repeat or off.
Or day 1 - chest, back & delts, day 2 - off, day 3 - legs, calves, biceps
& triceps, day 4 - off, day 5 - repeat.
Try to eat four to seven small meals a day and try to get protein and carbs on
every meal. Frequent small meals during the day provide a consistent supply of
essential nutrients for the most efficient muscle growth. Try to eat at least
one gram of protein per lean pound of body weight daily. Eat potatoes, rice,
chicken, turkey, tuna, potatoes, pasta, lean red meat and egg whites to get your
protein and carbs. Take carbs right after your workout, take for example a carb
drink, banana or rice cakes. The bigger you get, the more calories youīre going
to have to take in. If you want to gain weight youīre going to have to eat more
calories than youīre burning. Reduce fat, sugar and salt usage. Choose low-fat
or non-fat products. Remember to drink lots of water during the day. I know it
can be very hard to change you eating habits but if you want to lose fat and
gain muscle it is easier to do it this way.
I recommend that you buy your supplements from the big companies like EAS,
Prolab, Twinlab or other well known good reputation companies. Their supplements
might be a little bit expensive but their supplements have what is said in the
label. Read labels. Donīt be impressed by the long list of ingredients because
the actual amounts of some of the ingredients may be too small. Donīt be
impressed by impressive looking labels, itīs what is in the inside that counts.
Nowadays there are lots of good supplements so donīt be a fool and start taking
steroids. Hereīs some good supplements: creatine monohydrate powder (100%),
HMB, CLA, vanadyl sulfate, ion-exchange whey protein and Betagen (HMB +
creatine). Best protein supplements are; Designer Protein (Next Nutrition), Whey
Fuel (Twinlab), Whey Protein (SportPharma), Ion-Exchange Whey Protein (Prolab)
and VyoPro (AST Research). Best creatine supplements are; Phosphagen &
Phosphagen HP (EAS), Creatine 6000-ES (MuscleTech), Creatine Fuel (Twinlab) and
Creatine Monohydrate Formula (Parrillo). Remember to take your vitamins. Give
some time to supplements to work, a week or a month is not necessarily enough.
Remember that supplements are not as important as eating well-balanced and
nutritious diet. If you want to learn more about supplements that work for you,
I suggest that you buy Muscle Media magazine or some good book like Greg Zulakīs
Uncensored Supplement Review or Bill Phillipsī Sports Supplement Review. Sports
Supplement Review has the information you need to know about supplements which
can help you to build a stronger and more muscular body. It is very easy to
Keep a training diary. Basically that means you write down the exercises, sets,
reps & weights that you use in your training. Keep also track on your
development, supplements youīre using, best results, measurements, training
feelings and your bodyweight. That way you can set realistic goals for the
future and you learn to know what works best for you.
Stretching allows the muscles to recover quicker, decreases post workout
soreness, helps maintain flexibility and helps prevent injury. Donīt bounce
when you stretch because this can lead to injury. Warm your bodybpart before
Moderate amounts of aerobics help the recovery process between workouts.
Aerobics help burn fat. When the bodyfat level is lower, the body makes better
muscular gains. Aerobics also helps the body to become more effeicient at
burning fat. If youīre doing aerobics on a regular basis, your body is then
used to burning fat as an energy source. Be careful of doing too much aerobics
because it will cut into your energy resources and recuperative abilities.
Sleep is one of the most important factors in recovery and growth. Try to sleep
at least eight hours every night. Take a little nap during the day if possible.
Not enough sleep may lead to overtraining.
BOOKS & MAGAZINES:
Thereīs a lot of good books which include information on training, techniques,
nutrition, diet and more. I would recommend Arnold Schwarzeneggerīs
Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding with over 730 pages and more than 850
photographs and anatomical line drawings it provides comprehensive information
on every facet of bodybuilding. Other books for beginners: Bodybuilding for
Beginners by Bill Reynolds, Strength and Weight Training for Young Athletes by
Scott Roberts and Ben Weider & Strength Training for Young Athletes by
William J. Kraemer and Steven J. Fleck. Hereīs some good magazines in no
particural order: Flex, Muscle & Fitness, MuscleMag International, Muscle
Media 2000, Ironman & Bodaus. You can learn a lot from magazines,
techniques, nutrition, supplements, posing etc. If you donīt like the looks of
bodybuilding magazines buy some bodybuilding book.
Here are some symptons of overtraining: reduced appetite, having trouble getting
to sleep, getting colds, your body is more sore and tired than usually in the
days following training, concentration problems, stagnated training poundages
and reduced enthusiasm for training. What are the factors behind overtraining?
Here are a few example: youīre skipping meals, youīre not sleeping well, you
have some financial problems or youīre having relationship problem. Or maybe
youīre just doing too many workouts, exercises, sets and reps or having a bad
exercise style. Symptoms can be in-or-out-of-the-gym factors. What to do when
you notice the signs of overtraining? Stay out of the gym for a couple of days
or even a week or two. Rest and sleep, remember to eat well, reduce your work
sets when youīre back in the gym and go to gym less often.
Proper breathing is very important while training. Breathing supplies oxygen to
the muscle cells, which is necessary for muscle contraction, and helps deliver
energy and build the muscle. Exhale when you lift the weight. Inhale when you
lower it. Like Arnold said: let it happen.
Either do all the exercises correctly, or donīt do them at all. Donīt
follow an exercise technique that doesnīt feel right to you. Avoid any
exercises that cause you pain.
THE DUMBELL SHRUG:
Purpose: develop the trapezius.
Execution: Stand with arms at your sides and a heavy dumbell in each hand. Raise
your shoulders as high as you can. Imagine trying to touch your ears with your
shoulders. Hold for a slight pause, then release and lower back down. Lift the
weights with your shoulders only. Try to use your arms and hands as hooks for
the weights, and donīt lift with your arms. Keep your shoulders square and lift
the weights simultaneously. Keep weight under control at all times. Donīt get
into a sloppy continuous rhythm. Using straps can help you grip the weight
Variations: Instead of shrugging with a pair of dumbells, you can use a barbell,
or even the handles of a Universal bench-press machine.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting the dumbells with your arms and avoid bending
forward or hunching - this often happens when too much weight is being used.
ONE-ARM CABLE LATERALS
Purpose: develop the outer delts.
Execution: Hold the handle of a cable (floor pulley). Stand with your arm down
and across your body. Place your free hand for example on your hip for balance.
In a steady motion pull the cable outward and upward to your side. Keep your arm
straight and lift until itīs slightly higher than your shoulder. Twist your
hand so that your pinky is higher that your index finger as if you were pouring
water. Remember to lift with your deltoid, not your arm.
Variation: Try doing the movement with the cable running behind your back
instead of in front.
Points to avoid: Avoid getting into too much of a swinging motion - remember to
always control the weight.
BENT-OVER CABLE LATERALS
Purpose: isolate and develop the posterior (rear) delts.
Execution: Using two floor-level pulleys, take a handle in each hand - left to
the right pulley, right to the left pulley. Keeping your back straight, bend at
the waist until your upper torso is parallel to the floor. Start with your hands
crossed in front of you. In a smooth motion pull the handles across your body
and extend your arms out in a straight line. Stretch out as far as possible,
hold for a slight pause, release, and slowly lower back to the starting
position. Keep your upper body and head fixed throughout the exercise. Remember
to keep your arms aligned with your shoulders and cable pulleys.
Variation: You can do this exercise with one deltoid at a time. Support your
free hand on your thigh or hip area.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting the upper body during the exercise, avoid turning
your head and avoid bringing your hands too far back or too far forward.
SEATED BENT-OVER DUMBELL LATERALS
Purpose: develop the rear delts.
Execution: Sit on the edge of a bench, take a dumbell in each hand. Bend forward
from the waist, arms extended, dumbells by your feet. Your palms should be
facing each other. Lift the weights out to either side, turning your wrists
slightly so that your pinky in higher than your thumb. Keep your upper body
fixed. Lift dumbells until they are slightly above the shoulder level. Lower the
weights slowly and under control.
Variation: you can use the low pulley cables to do this exercise.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps, avoid moving or turning your head and
avoid raising your upper body.
INCLINE BENCH PRESS:
Purpose: develop the upper chest.
Execution: Lie back on an incline bench. Grab hold of the barbell, at normal
bench press width. Lift the bar off the rack and push up almost untils arms are
locked. Lower the weight slowly to the upper chest, pause slightly and then
press back up overhead, stopping just before lockout. This keeps constant
tension on the pectorals. When working out on the incline, it is extremely
important to have complete control of the weight. You donīt want the bar
drifting down too close to the rack. Make sure feet are square and fixed
throughout the exercise. And remember to keep your body aligned and back flat
against the bench. The incline angle of the bench should range between 45š and
60š. Any higher or any lower brings in other muscles than those of the upper
Variations: The same exercise performed with dumbells. This allows more freedom
with the weights. You can lower them farther for more stretch, and when pressing
the weights up, you may turn the dumbells, or keep them facing forward, just for
Points to avoid: Avoid pressing bar up unevenly. Avoid twsiting or turning your
head. Avoid using excessive weight that causes bad form. Avoid arching or
lifting your body off the bench and avoid erratic leg positioning.
INCLINE DUMBELL FLYES:
Purpose: develop mass and definition in the upper chest.
Execution: Lie on an incline bench with an incline of 45š and 60š. Hold the
bumbells straight overhead, palms facing each other. Lower them out and down to
either side in a wide, sweeping arc. Keep dumbells fixed in the same position in
the hands and remember to keep your elbows bent slightly. Lower as far as you
can and come back up through the same arc. Control the weight and keep your form
Variation: The same exercise performed in a low-pulley cable machine. Set
yourself up between the uprights and execute the exercise as you would with
Points to avoid: Avoid bending the arms too much. Avoid incomplete reps.
STANDING CABLE FLYES:
Purpose: develop and define the inner chest.
Execution: Stand between two uprights of a cable pulley machine, and grasp the
handles attached to the overhead pulleys on each side. Stand erect, arms
extended out to your sides. Bend forward slightly at your waist. Now bring your
hands down and forward, as if you were hugging someone. Keep your elbows bent
slightly. Feel your pec muscles contract. Bring the heels of your hands together
for a good, full contraction in the chest. Lower the weight slowly and repeat.
Variation: Bend over at the waist to a 45-60š angle and execute the exercise as
explained earlier. This method hits the pecs from a different angle.
Points to avoid: Avoid hunching and bending over too far. Avoid bending your
elbows too much. Avoid tucking your head down and in and avoid stepping too far
forward or hyperextending your shoulder joints.
SEATED CABLE ROWS:
Purpose: thicken the back.
Execution: Take hold of the handles and sit with your feet braced against the
crossbar, kness bent slightly. Extend arms and bend forward slightly, feeling
the lats stretch. You should be seated far enough away from the weight stack so
that you can stretch like this without the weight touching bottom. From this
beginning position pull the handles back toward your body and into your sternum.
Feel the back muscle doing most of the work. Arch your back and stick your chest
out as you try to touch your shoulder blades together, while drawing the weight
toward you. At completion of the rep you should be sitting upright, not leaning
backward. Pull the handle into your sternum and keep elbows close to your sides.
Keeping the weight under control, release and let the handles go forward again,
once more stretching out the lats.
Variations: You can use a wide grip. By using this grip you will work the outer
lats and upper back. Another variation is to use an overhand grip.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending too far forward, as this puts stress on the lower
back. Avoid turning head while exercising. Avoid leaning back while performing
seated cable rows. This minimizes the effect of the exercise. Avoid pulling
handle into body too high or too low and avoid straightening out legs.
Purpose: develop the spinal erectors.
Execution: Position yourself face down across a hyperextension bench. Hook your
feet under the rear supports. Cross your hands across your chest or behind your
head. Bend forward and down feeling the lower back muscles stretch out. Now
bring your body back up until your torso is above parallel.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps and avoid coming up beyond the point of
full contraction of the spinal erectors.
Purpose: develop mass and thickness.
Execution: Position yourself on a block. Bend over and grasp the handles of the
t-bar machine with an overhand grip. Lift the weight until youīre at an angle
of 35 to 45š, arms still fully extended. Keeping your body fixed, lift the
weight to your chest. Then Lower slowly until your arms are extended fully
again. Keep your back flat and straight at all times.
Variations: By using the narrow grip you will be able to use heavier weights
than with the barbell row.
Points to avoid: Avoid bending over or hunching your back. Avoid stiff legs.
Avoid standing too high or coming up too high and avoid upper-body movement.
Purpose: develop the lower biceps.
Execution: Position yourself with your chest against the bench, arms on bench in
contracted position. Keep elbows fixed througout the movement and position feet
squarely and keep fixed. Use an underhand grip on the bar, hands shoulder width
apart. Slowly lower the bar until arms are fully extended. This is the start
position. In a strict and controlled manner, curl the weight up in a strict and
controlled manner and then lower again to full extension, resisting the weight
on the way down. Preacher curls are usually done while sitting, but can be done
in a standing position also.
Variations: Close grip with barbell works the outside of the biceps, wide grip
with barbell works the inside of the biceps or use dumbells and execute the
exercise as you would with a barbell.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting your buttocks, as this will cause loose style and
could include injury. Avoid lowering weight only partially. Avoid turning or
twisting your head during the exercise. Avoid curling the weight up too high and
removing the stress from the biceps. Avoid slouching or dropping your head into
TRICEPS CABLE PUSHDOWNS:
Purpose: develop a complete triceps.
Execution: Use a short bar on an overhead cable pulley. Stand close, straight
and stationary. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands approximately 10"
apart. Make sure your elbows are tucked in close to your body and remain
stationary. From this position press the bar down until your arms are straight.
Now let the bar return slowly to the start position, without moving your elbows.
Donīt lean forward to help press down the weight with your body.
Variation: Grip the bar with a reverse grip. This puts more stress on the inner
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning over. Avoid sloppy form and letting elbows come
away from your body. Avoid letting arms and elbows come up and avoid twisting or
turning the head while exercising.
ONE-ARM TRICEPS EXTENSIONS:
Purpose: work the entire triceps ans separate the three heads of the muscle.
Execution: Sit on a bench. Take a dumbell in one hand and hold it extended over
your head. Keeping your upper arm and elbow stationary and close to your head,
lower the dumbell in an arc behind your head, only your forearm should be
moving. Feel triceps stretch as far as possible, and then press the dumbell back
up to the starting position. Finish your set with one arm and then repeat the
movement with the other arm. Use a lighter dumbell to start with to ensure good
Variation: Use a heavier dumbell in both hands. While the one-armed extensions
promotes shaping and separating, this variation is more for overall size and
Points to avoid: Avoid letting the dumbell stray backwards. Keep it close,
behind the head. Avoid not fully extending the arm. Avoid loose, sloppy form and
avoid moving the upper arm.
Purpose: develop overall triceps thickness.
Execution: Place a bench behind you and hold onto the edge, with your hands
about shoulder width apart. Extend your legs and place your heels on another
bench. Lower yourself by bending your elbows. Go down as far as possible to get
a full stretch. Keep your elbows close to your torso to keep the stress on the
triceps. Push back up, locking out your arms to get a full range of motion. Keep
your upper body in control at all times.
Variation: If your own weight feels too light, increase resistance by placing
weight on your thighs. You must have a training partner to do this.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps and avoid letting your knees come up.
REVERSE CURLS ON THE PREACHER BENCH:
Purpose: develop the forearms and outside head of the biceps.
Execution: Grasp a barbell with an overhand grip, hands about shoulder width
apart. Keep the upper body fixed throughout the exercise. Position yourself on a
preacher bench, arms extended. Curl the bar upward as far as possible toward
your chin. Begin the movement with a curling motion of the wrist. At the top of
the movement hold for a slight pause before slowly lowering the weight back down
to starting position.
Variation: You can also perform the reverse curl on the preacher bench with
dumbells rather than a barbell. The execution is basically the same.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps. Avoid pulling the head up and back.
Avoid pulling the upper body back. Avoid moving the arms or placing the elbows
too high on the bench.
Purpose: develop upper and lower abs.
Execution: Lie on your back, legs bent at a 90š angle, feet on a bench. Place
your hands at your temples or ears to avoid pulling your head with your hands.
Raise your head and shoulders toward your knees with a situp motion and
simultaneously lift the pelvis. Exhale all the air from your stomach. Feel the
lower and upper abs contract together. Flex the abs hard at the top of the
movement to get maximum contraction. Release, inhale and return to the starting
position. The whole movement should involve only four to eight inches of
flexion. Train the abs without any added weight.
Points to avoid:Avoid holding your head with your hands clasped behind, this can
cause injury and put undo stress on the neck. Avoid getting into too much of a
BENT-KNEE LEG RAISES:
Purpose: develop lower abs.
Execution: Hold on to a chinning bar with an overhand grip. Hang at armsī
length. Bend your knees and lift your legs high. Hold them at the top of the
movement for a two-count. Then lower back to the starting position. Keep your
upper body fixed all the time.
Variation:A variation of the bent-knee leg raise is to twist at the top of the
movement. This still works the lower abs, but it also brings the intercostals
and serratus into play. Alternate side to side with each leg raise.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps. Avoid swinging the whole body while
performing the exercise and avoid loose or sloppy form.
Purpose: develop the thighs.
Execution: For safety reasons it is best to squat from a barbell squat rack.
Keep your shoulders square, rest barbell across your shoulders and step clear of
the rack. Your foot stance should be slighty wider than shoulder width and your
toes pointed slighlt out. If thatīs not comfortable for you, you should find
whatīs most comfortable for you. Find a local point at or above eye level to
help keep head up. Keeping your head up and back straight, bend your knees and
lower yourself until your thighs are just lower than parallel to the floor. From
this point, push yourself back up to the starting position.
Variations: A wider stance, with toes pointing slightly out, works the inside of
the thighs predominantly, while a narrower stance tends to work more of the
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning forward while squatting. Avoid coming up out of
the bottom position buttocks first. Avoid squatting too low and irregural foot
stance. Avoid using too much weight and avoid bringing your knees together.
Purpose: develop the quadriceps.
Execution: Step up to a bar on a squat rack. Bring your arms up under the bar
and cross them in front of you, keeping your elbows high. Place bar across the
front of your shoulders. Graps the bar with hands approximately under your chin.
Lift the weight and step away carefully. Feet should be shoulder width apart.
Keep your head up, back straight, and lower yourself until your thighs are
parallel to the floor. Push back up to starting position.
Points to avoid: Avoid leaning forward, avoid squatting too low or not squatting
Purpose: develop the thighs.
Execution: Sit on the seat of the leg extension machine. Hook your feet under
the padded bar and grip onto the sides or handles of the machine. Keep your
upper body fixed and in complete control. Straighten or extend your legs out to
achieve maximum contraction of the thigh muscles. Lock out and flex your thighs
at this point. Slowly slower the weight back down to the starting position.
Remember to focus on the muscles being worked.
Variations: You can point your toes inward or outward to work the thigh muscles
at different angles. Pointing the toes inward shifts the stress to the outer
thigh, while pointing the toes outward shifts the stress to the inner thigh.
Points to avoid: Avoid swinging or jerking the weight up in a continuos motion,
always execute the exercise in a slow and completely controlled manner. Avoid
excessive upperbody movement and avoid incomplete reps.
Purpose: develop the leg biceps.
Execution: Lie face down on a leg curl machine and hook your hells under the
padded leg bar, legs extended straight out. Keeping flat on the bench, curl your
legs up as far as possible, until the leg biceps are fully contracted. Release
and lower the weight slowly back down to the starting position.
Variations: Standing leg curls; for this excercise you will need a standing leg
curl machine. You will train one leg at a time. Stand in position in the machine
with your leg behind the leg pad. Curl your leg up as high as possible until leg
biceps is fully contracted. Release and lower your leg back to the starting
position. Keep the movement strict and controlled.
Points to avoid: Avoid lifting your head or arching your back during the
exercise and avoid incomplete reps.
STANDING CALF RAISES:
Purpose: add mass to calves.
Execution: Stand with your toes and balls of your feet on the block of the
standing calf machine, the rest of your feet out in mid-air. Hook shoulders
under the pads and straighten your legs, lifting the weights clear of the
support. Lower your heels as far as possible, stretching the calf muscle to its
maximum. Keep your knees bent slightly throughout the movement, thus working
upper and lower muscles in the calf. From the bottom of the movement, come up
your toes as far as possible. Use enough weight to work the calves thoroughly,
but not so heavy as to limit your range of movement. You want to work the calf
through the full range of motion. The normal position, toes straight ahead, is
best for overall calf development.
Variations: If you have a weak inner or outer calf, by simply chancing your foot
placement, you can directly work this weakness. Toes in work the outer calf and
toes out work the inner calf.
Points to avoid: Avoid using too much weight, preventing full extension to the
top. Avoid keeping legs straight and knees locked and remember to stretch down
as far as possible.
CALF RAISE ON THE LEG-PRESS MACHINE:
Purpose: develop the overall calf.
Execution: Position yourself on the leg-press machine as you would to perform
leg-presses. Move your feet so that the balls of your feet are on the edge of
the foot platform, leaving your heels unsupported. Remove safety catches and
keep legs straight and almost locked out. Keeping your heels fixed, let the
weight push your toes back toward you, stretching out the calves fully. At this
point press the weight back up with your toes as far as possible until your calf
muscles are fully contracted. Hold for a pause; then slowly lower the weight
back to the starting position.
Variations: Toes pointed out work the inner muscle of the calf and toes pointed
in work the outer muscle of the calf. You can also use the vertical leg press.
The execution of this exercise is basically the same.
Points to avoid: Avoid incomplete reps, always work the muscle through the full
range of motion. Avoid lifting or moving your upper body during the exercise.
Avoid letting the knees bend while lowering the weight back down.
SEATED CALF RAISE:
Purpose: develop the lower and outer calf.
Execution: Sit on the seated calf machine with your toes placed on the bottom
crosspiece, knees hooked under the crossbar. Slowly lower your heels as far
towards the ground as possible; then press back up your toes until your calves
are fully contracted. Keep a smooth controlled motion for your reps.
Points to avoid: Avoid any rocking motion that gets you into a rhythm. Avoid
incomplete reps and always make a definite stop at the bottom and the top of the