The Forgotten Body Parts
Do you ever wonder what separates serious bodybuilders from the rest of the iron junkies? It's their meticulous attention to detail. They don't neglect the forgotten body parts – forearms and calves.
Remember to consult your doctor before starting any diet and exercise plan.
If you're like a lot of guys who think that by training the large muscle groups such as chest, back and quads, the small muscles surrounding them will get worked, you're wrong. This type of thinking is what robs bodybuilders of having a complete and balanced physique. Yeah, at a quick glace you probably look good in shorts and a t-shirt, but if you look closer, you'll notice toothpick forearms and deflated calves. Do you ever wonder what separates serious bodybuilders from the rest of the iron junkies? It's their meticulous attention to detail. They don't neglect the forgotten body parts – forearms and calves.
Having a monster set of forearms can really complete your total arm package. Most trainers believe that the forearms get more than enough work because they are a secondary muscle worked when training back and biceps. Although this is true, the stress that is put on them when training back and bis is simply not enough to trigger growth; that is why you have to target them with specific exercises. You can either train forearms once a week on their own or hit them hard after a back workout since they have already been pre-exhausted. But, do yourself a favor – lose the straps. Only use them for your max lifts if needed. Tossing the straps will significantly increase your grip strength and make your forearms grow.
Wrist Curls (3 sets x 15 to 20 reps):
This movement is good to add size to the belly of the forearm and the pump you get is out of this world. Go heavy, but the movement should be slow and controlled.
Preparation: Sit and grasp a loaded bar with a narrow to shoulder-width underhand grip. Rest forearms on thighs with wrists just beyond knees.
Execution: Allow the bar to roll out of the palms down to the fingers. Grip the bar back up and flex wrists. Lower and repeat.
Wrist Twists (3 sets x 20 to 25 reps):
This movement will blast unbelievable mass to your wrists and forearms.
Preparation: Sit and grasp a dumbell. Rest forearms on thighs with wrists just beyond knees.
Execution: Twist or rotate the weight as far to the right and then as far to the left as possible using a slow and controlled movement.
Reverse Wrist Twists (3 sets x 10 to 12 reps):
For this movement it is best to use an Olympic bar – it will work your upper forearms as well as your grip. Go moderately heavy using a slow and controlled movement and be careful not to flare your elbows out.
Preparation: Grasp bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip.
Execution: With your elbows to your sides, raise the bar until forearms are vertical. Lower until the arms are fully extended. Repeat.
When it comes to training calves most trainers write them off because they are either tired from a grueling session at the squat rack or leg press machine, or they blame lack of calf development on genetics. Truth be told, genetics only play a small role in calf development. Most people are simply too lazy or just don't know the proper way to train them effectively. To get the most out of calf training you need to use proper form and heavy weight. It's not rocket science; the proper way to perform any calf exercise is to go all the way up on your toes and all the way down using as much weight as possible. That's it. Think about it – all day long you are lugging your body around, so to actually put your calves under stress and trigger a growth spurt, you need to use weights exceeding your bodyweight. Going heavy and using proper form is the only way to spark new calf development. You can train calves after your leg workout or after any other workout up to three times per week.
Standing Calf Raises (5 sets x 10 to 15 reps):
When proper form is used, this movement can add a ton of mass to your calves because you can work your way up to lifting more than twice your bodyweight.
Preparation: Place shoulders under pads of machine. Position toes and balls of feet on calf block with arches and heels extending off. Grasp handles or sides of padded bars. Stand erect by extending hips and knees.
Execution: Raise heels by extending from the ankles as high as possible. Lower heels by bending at the ankles until calves are stretched. Repeat.
Seated Calf Raises (5 sets x 15 to 20 reps):
This is the best exercise for shaping the inner and outer heads of the calves, giving them that sought-after wide look.
Preparation: Sit on bench, placing knees under pad and toes on lower portion of platform with heels extending off.
Execution: Lower heels by bending at the ankles until calves are stretched. Raise heels by extending from the ankles as high as possible. Repeat.
Leg Press Calf Raises:
This is an ideal final movement to just bury your calves. Using high reps with explosive motion while keeping strict form will finish your calves off.
Preparation: Sit on seat with back on padded support. Place feet on platform. Grasp handles to sides and extend hips and knees. Place toes and balls of feet on lower portion of platform with heels and arches extending off.
Execution: Push platform by extending from the ankles as far as possible. Return by bending at the ankles until calves are stretched. Repeat.
Forearms and calves need just as much attention as your chest and biceps, if not more, since you have probably been neglecting them for some time now. Forgotten no more, get to the gym and use these exercises to complete your physique.