Calf Muscle Workout at Home

Calf is a crucial muscle in your lower body. It lies in the posterior chain of muscles. It is crucial as it along with few other muscles are responsible to take us anywhere. Calf muscle workout is toughest but you can do it at home as well. As it is continuously used muscle, it takes time and patience to shock these muscles and build them. Though they are hard to target, you can very easily work them out at home as well if you figure out the correct function and pattern.

Calf Muscle

Calf is composed of gastrocnemius and soleus, the bigger muscles and the tibialis posterior. These muscles react to different position and stances. Moreover, they all work together to stabilize and move your whole body.

Calf Muscle Workout at Home

The calf muscle lies between knee and the heel with several other smaller muscles and tendons all the way to toe. The gastrocnemius is the bigger muscle that gives the rounder look to the calf. Soleus is the flatter and longer muscle underneath the gastrocnemius.

Calf Workouts at Home

Definite from the fact that you use calf every time, it is pretty hard to shock but very easy to understand the movement. There are many calf movements that you are already doing, but don’t recognize. Some of the common ones are staircase, standing on your toes, walking, hiking etc. Some of the easiest calf muscle workout you can do at home are given below.

Standing Calf Raises

This one is pretty easy and the effective one. You can do this at home, gym, anywhere you like.

      • Stand on the edge of the stairs on your toes, heels hanging. Or if you are in gym, you can stand of edge of bench, of machine.
      • At home, lower yourself down till you feel the stretch on your calf.
      • Slowly raise yourself up above the toe level, contracting your calf muscle.
      • Repeat the movement till you are exhausted.

Calf Muscle Workout at Home

You can add weights to the exercise by carrying some weight.

Seated Calf Raises

Opposed to the standing version, you will be seated in this exercise.

      • Be seated on a bench with your toes resting on a platform slightly higher than ground.
      • Lean forward on your knees, to add resistance to the motion.
      • Now raise the heels to contract the calf and hold the contraction.
      • Slowly lower the heels below your toe to extend your calf.
      • Repeat the movement.

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Toe Walk

This pretty interesting and fun exercise. It is more of like walking silently and gently.

      • Stand up straight.
      • Be on your toes. Elevate your heels and stay on your toes.
      • Without letting your heels touch the ground, walk.

While you walk on the toes, your calves are constantly under contraction. When contracted, blood flow in the area of contraction increases and growth takes place.

Hiking or Walking Uphill

While you might not consider it an exercise, it is definitely a better way to exercise. While you are hiking or walking uphill, the nature of the ground forces you to push through your toes. This moment mimics the calf raises. Hence, it is a better alternative to the exercise.

Skipping

Skipping or jumping ropes are very good cardio exercise. It also helps build your calves. You jump on your toes, not heels. Hence, you work your calves in every jump, keeping it under tension. Skipping too is very good exercise to increase your stamina and as a cardio.

Tips and Tricks for Calf Training

While these calf muscle workout to do at home might not be fancy or new to you, these definitely are very beneficial. Calf muscle is very tough to grow. You need to be training calf at least 3-4 times a week to shock it to grow. Little tricks lies in your foot placement. Though whatever you might do, you will work all your calf muscle, but there is a general belief and some see the difference too. Bringing toes inward, you target more of your outer calf, normal focuses on overall calf and toes outward will target your inner portion.

 

Cable Machine Exercises

Whether you are a beginner or intermediate or even advance lifter, cable machine exercises will always benefit you. Cable exercises not only allows you to extend your range of motion, but also puts constant tension on the muscle. While dumbbells and barbells has limit in terms of weight you can lift and the range of motion you can go through, cable machine exercises will let you adjust your range of motion. You will have constant tension on your muscles throughout the motion. Here are some cable exercises for your body that you can perform.

Cable Fitness Equipment

The equipment you will need are easily available in most of the gym. You need not worry for the equipment being fancy or hard to get. You will just need equipment like

  • Pulley machine
  • Different attachment for the cable

These two are the only thing you will require. With pulley machine, you can adjust the height of the cable. And with the attachments, you can workout different regions of your muscles targeting differently.

Cable Machine Exercises

You will easily find some of the attachments as in the picture above in your local gym. These all can be used for different exercises. Straight bar, V-bar, D-bar, Rope, single handle etc.

Exercises with Cable

Given below are few of the most effective exercises that you can perform with  cable. They not only mimic the action of Barbell and Dumbbells, but also provide constant tension and extended range of motion.

Cable Cross Over

Cable cross overs are the well known exercise variation for the chest fly and pressing movement. You can keep your chest muscle fibers engaged throughout the exercise maintaining constant tension. By maintaining different angle of the pulley, you can emphasize different regions of chest.

Cable Machine Exercises

    • Place the pulley in appropriate position(say high).
    • Position yourself on the crossover machine.
    • Attach the single handle on the both end.
    • Exhale while you bring the hands together in front performing the fly movement.
    • Inhale while you bring your hands back.
    • Perform slow controlled reps.

Cable Upright Row

Upright row has very bad reputation for being bad on your wrist. But, it is a very effective exercise to target the lateral head of your shoulder, your traps, also your rear delt to higher extend. With the cable you can perform this exercise safely without risking your wrist.

Cable Machine Exercises

      • Attach a EZ bar or straight bar to the cable.
      • Leaning slightly backward, place your hand shoulder width apart.
      • Now while inhaling, bring the bar up to your chest level with elbow leading the path.
      • Now exhale and lower the bar.

You can also perform this exercise with rope attachment, giving you more flexibility in the wrist.

Cable Lateral Raise

Lateral raise is the very important exercise in building that round looking shoulder. All those boulder shoulder is achieved with variations of lateral raises. While dumbbell lateral raises doesn’t provide constant tension specially on the lower end, cable is the perfect variation. With cable machine lateral exercise, you can stress your lateral head of shoulder in tension throughout the movement.

Cable Machine Exercises

    • Attach a single handle to the cable machine.
    • Hold on to the machine with one hand slightly leaning away from the machine.
    • Inhale and raise the handle till your shoulder level leading with elbow.
    • Exhale and lower the handle to the starting position.
    • Unlike dumbbell, you cannot lift lot of weight because your muscle is in constant tension.

Cable Front Raise

Front raise is a controversial exercise involving in the discussion whether or not to train front delt. As per my recommendation, it is continuously used muscle meaning it requires more work, so you better work it more. With cable, you can perform either each side separately or together.

    • For single side, grab a single handle.
    • Stand about a feet away from the machine.
    • Raise the handle with a slight bent at the elbow, across your body.
    • Perform slow controlled reps.

You can perform this both hands together with straight bar attachment. You can even use rope attachment to increase the range of motion.

Also See: Shoulder Workout Routine

Cable Squats

It might be surprising at first about how you can perform squat with cable. But it is a great movement for you glutes and hamstring. It is somewhat safe version of squat to perform if you are having any injury or coming out of an injury.

Cable Machine Exercises

    • Grab a rope attachment with both hands.
    • Stand farther from the low pulley to have tension on the cable.
    • With a deep inhale, lower yourself in the squat position driving your hips backward.
    • Squeeze your hips and hamstring on the way up with an exhale.
    • Remember to keep your back straight throughout the movement.

With this version of squat, you will have constant burning sensation in your glutes and hamstring.

Cable Biceps

While you cannot lift a ton of weight on the barbell, cable machine biceps exercise helps you focus on your lift. You can have constant stress in your biceps and yet lift weights as your level.

    • You can perform all the versions of biceps exercises  with cable.
    • Grab whichever attachment you like to work. Rope will allow you to perform the hammer movement.
    • Position yourself on the machine.
    • With controlled inhale and exhale, curl your way up and down.

Cable Triceps

Similar to the biceps, triceps movements too can be performed with the cable. From pushdown to kickback to extension, all movements are possible.

    • Grab the attachment for your version of exercise. Rope gives more range of movement and flexibility.
    • Inhale on the positive portion of the workout and exhale on the negative portion.
    • Perform slow controlled reps.
    • Try other attachments too for your preference.

Cable Core Rotation

You can work your core specially your obliques with cable machine exercises. You can perform movements like woodchopper, core twist and few others. To perform the core rotation follow the following steps.

Cable Machine Exercises

    • Attach a single handle to the end.
    • Stand away from the pulley kept at chest level on your either side.
    • Bring your arms straight front with the cable pulling towards the side.
    • Now resisting the motion of the cable, twist your torso on opposite side keeping your head and feet straight.
    • You will feel the twisting movement of your obliques.
    • Perform for both sides.

Take Away for Cable Machine Exercises

These are just few of the cable variations. There are lot more to cover. You can perform a single exercise with multiple variations to break through any plateau you are having. This as well provides variety in your workout and helps shock the muscle for growth. Give these exercises a chance in your routine to witness the change.

 

Seated Cable Row

Seated cable row is one of the key exercise for building back. It is basically another variation of rowing exercise. Other row variation is done with dumbbell and barbell. Rowing exercise is the mass builder for back. While dumbbell and barbell row is done against the gravity, seated cable row has a pulling setup where the weight is pulled through a set of pulley. It is easily available and easy to learn exercise.

Cable Row Muscles Worked

Being a back exercise, the main working muscle is your Lats, latissimus dorsi. It is a functional exercise as it mimics our everyday movement. Whenever you pull something towards yourself, you are engaging the same muscles you work with cable row.

Seated cable row is also known as cable row, low cable row or just cable row in general. The working muscles are as follows:

Main Muscles

The major muscles that you will engage while performing this exercise are:

  • Erector Spine in lower back
  • Middle and lower traps in upper back
  • Rhomboids
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Teres Major

These are the major muscles that are involved in each repetition of your exercise.

Seated Cable Row

Secondary Muscles

Pulling movement involves not only your back, but also your biceps, forearms, delts and few other stabilizer muscles. The secondary muscles involved are:

  • Biceps and long head of triceps serve as dynamic stabilizer
  • Hamstring, glutes and adductor as your lower body stabilizer
  • Forearms are activated to higher degree

These muscles work to basically support the movement and stabilize you shoulder and lower body.

How to do Seated Cable Row

It is generally a machine set up already with all the necessary stance. You have an area to place your feet and place to sit on. Following are the steps to perform the exercise.

  1. Position yourself on the machine. Place your feet hip width apart bending at the knee.
  2. Grab the handle. Grab attachment with your hands, generally a V-bar, and put appropriate weight on the stack.
  3. Perform the movement. Pull the attachment towards you. Sit straight, this is your starting position. Keep your back straight and your chest up throughout the movement. Pull the shoulder back as you pull the bar towards you stomach. Exhale while you do so. Inhale and bring your arms and shoulders forward extending your back.

Seated Cable Row

Alternative to machine

If you don’t have access to the machine, you don’t have to worry. Every gym at least has a puller access. Just bring the pulley down, sit on the floor and execute the movement. There are several other alternative to this exercise. You can do this movement with dumbbell or barbell. These work basically the same muscle group. with dumbbells, you can target the muscle from even more angles.

Also Read: Back Workout Routine

Variations to the Exercise

As far as the variations go, you can perform many variation with the seated row machine. Just you need to do is change the attachment, vary grip width and grip and carry on. Changing the grip from underhand to overhand grip, you will emphasize some other part of the back muscles more. Some of the variations of this exercise are:

Seated Cable Row

  • Wide grip cable row: Attach the D-bar attachment on the rope and suddenly, you are targeting the upper back more.
  • V-bar row: It is somewhat standard row movement. Your palms are closer opposed to the wide grip.
  • Single arm row: You can attach a single handle and perform the unilateral movement. This will put emphasis on one side of your movement.
  • Seated row with rope: Attach a rope to the cable and you will find longer range of motion and increased flexibility.
  • Face pull on seated row: This will work your upper back muscles more along with the rear delt and traps.

Wrapping up

Wrapping up, seated cable row is awesome exercise to entirely put your whole body in action. Your every bit is working throughout the workout. You just need to focus on few key tips like

  • Avoid rounded back
  • Don’t lift more than you can
  • Avoid jerking through the  movement
  • Don’t over extend so as to stress your lower back
  • Avoid swinging movement

Keep in check these points and you are good to go.