I am going though a King workout, and am about to start doing calf raises. My problem is that my left calf is 16 3/4 while my left calf is 16 even. That 3/4 inch difference is very noticeable to me, if not as much to others. I seem to be symmetrical everywhere else (though my arms are lagging badly… my next project after a cutting phase.) I think it might have something to do with the fact that I do a lot of local driving in my work, and am constantly using my right foot for the gas and brake. (Just a thought.) I am seriously thinking about just working my right calf only, and leaving my left calf alone until I gain about ½ an inch on my right calf. The difference was even worse when my left calf was over 17 inches. If you think this is a good idea or a bad idea, let me know. Any advice would be appreciated. Also you should know that my left calf is only a little stronger then my right calf.
Is there a strength difference?
I never train my left calf with a weight greater then my right calf, but seems ready to move up before my right calf. I think there is only a slight strength difference. I would hate to see the difference if I were to increase my left calf at a greater rate then my right.
when you do calf raises, do one leg at a time instead of both feet at once. Ian King explained this, train your smaller calf first, and do not do more repetitions on your stronger side than your weaker. Keep working until your weaker calf catches up. I had this problem with biceps, i used the above principles and now my previously weaker (and smaller) bicep caught up to the stronger. I used a lot of dumbbell exercises to do this.
I agree with SLAINE. To correct the imbalance, only with train unilateral movements for the calves. Ian King has a lot of exercises for this as you know. Do not leave your left calf alone and do the same number of reps for both calves, just train the right first. This will correct the strength imbalance but the size imbalance may never change much.
Here’s a solution that I have been using for the past year (I had an identical calf problem, leftover from surgery atrophy). Like the guys said, start out with unilateral movements. You can do every calf exercise with one leg. An easy one to do if your gym doesn’t have much calf equipment is to grab a dumbell in one hand, get on the calf board, and do one-legged raises while holding the db.
One of the most effective things that I have done for correcting the size imbalance has been heavy negatives. This is a real feel thing, but you load up weight on the standing calf raise, and push up with both legs. On the way down, put all your weight on the weak calf and resist as hard as you can, all the way to the rock bottom stretch, then repeat. You can obviously use this principle on any calf exercise, but you have to be very focused on using only your weak leg for the negative.
Thanks for all the advice, I will try accentuated negatives. As far as working each calf separately, I don’t ever work my calves together. I also always work the right first because I didn’t let my left calf do more reps then my right. I came to this site through Ellington Darden, and he helped start the HIT movement. (though he is a hell of a lot smarter then Mentzer is, or was.) Someone on this site (I can’t remember who) said that people training HIT seemed really strong, and it is true. I was doing 385 pounds with each calf on a standing machine that only went to 495. I was too strong to use both legs on that machine. I have practically done no direct calf work in about a year. Then I had almost an inch difference. My right thigh and right arm are also smaller in size then my left, but by a much smaller degree. Thanks again.