Completing Your Wheels

In muscle building, it is important to give every bodypart sufficient attention with training. This is especially true when it comes to antagonistic muscles such as the bicep-tricep and quad-hamstring pairs. If you focus too much on one muscle in an antagonistic pair, you’re inviting all kinds of muscle imbalances which will not only hinder your progress, it will put you in jeopardy as well.


For leg training, the quads usually get most of the attention while the hamstring lags most of the time. Hamstring involvement is influenced by squat depth, so I can see your logic in doing leg curls, but you will get much better results from full squats. I’ve written about this subject many times, but it bears repeating.


If your calves are the reason you can’t do a full squat, there are several options. Using weightlifting shoes, which have elevated heels of about one inch, will increase the angle of your shins so you can maintain an upright position. A wedge board will serve the same function—at my gym I have several wedge boards with various angles for this very purpose. The rigid design of the weightlifting shoe also helps align the bones of the ankles and foots so it’s easier to keep the knees in the proper alignment when squatting.


Next, you need to start stretching your calves, and the best way to stretch them is with resistance using both standing and seated calf machines. With the standing variation, lock your knees and then lower your heels as far as possible. If you unlock your knees, the gastrocnemius will not be stretched fully. Hold the stretch for a full 15 seconds. Bend your knees to lower the shoulder pads, and then take a five-second break during which you increase the weight by two or three plates. Repeat this “stretch-rest-add weight” process for another three to five reps. Use the same method with the seated machine to stretch the soleus.

Be man enough for a wrestle.

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