T Nation

Calves and rest between sets

Does the fact that the calves have so much “density” to them mean that they could potentially GROW from shorter rest periods? It always seems as if the burn is easily achieved but quickly recovers. Looking for optimal growth, what would be best. Your theory/research and thoughts on this appreciated…

Hey BodyIQ: well, I find that I need to stimulate my calves in growth by working them with different exercises (seated, standing, donkey presses, etc.) and “saturate” them with a high volume of sets and reps. What has helped me in the past has been Karate. In Karate (as well as most MA, MMA and boxing, you’re on the balls of your feet ALOT - therefore your calves get worked quite a bit.

Also, is your use of the word "density" your way of saying that the calves are rather "tough" to stimulate - reason being, they get alot of work from just everyday use. Same with forearms.

Actually, I find that I tend to stand/step more towards the heel than the balls of my feet most of the time. So I am constantly trying to remind myself that I want to be “on my toes”(so to speak). I work them 2x/week but thnik that the volume should be bumped up as I’ve only been doing three sets each day. You really have to pound those gastroc./sol. muscles for a response. Certainly wasn’t born with 'em as some people are just genetically blessed (lucky bastards).

i like doing drop sets for calves starting off with a weight i can only do for 5-6 reps and then dropping the weight by a certain amount. One whole set would have atleast 3-5 drops. That way i stimulte the fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Also the range of motion is very important. make sure to pause at the bottom and at the top of each rep. this releases all the elastic energy. I basically do 3 sets straight leg and 3 sets bent leg. laters pk

pkradgeek hit upon a good point: range of motion. VERY important, IMO, when training calves. So many times in the gym, I hear the “clank, clank, clank” of someone performing calf presses thinking that the faster you press the weight, the better. They’re not even performing a full rep. What a waste of time…

I also like to perform the reps with a "semi-circular" motion. Where I rotate my heels outward as I press the weight up.