T Nation

Calves, Forearms, and Overtraining

I have recently begun training my calves and forearms with high volume and high frequency and I am beginning to think that it is damn near impossible to over train these bodyparts.

Would like to hear others thoughts on this.

A lot of people believe that and I know many people on here didn’t start seeing progress with their calves until they started training them every day.

My calves do seem to respond well to more frequent training. I’ve never really messed around with frequent forearm training though.

If i didnt train my calves for a month or so and hit them with 2 sets of 100 reps of BW calf raises i would get compartment syndrome and be virtually crippled for a week to 9 days! (i did it on 2 different occasions!) Hot and cold contrasts for at least 1 hour a day, about 4x a week. I couldnt walk on my heels - had to be tiptoes!

Overtraining!!

If i do more than 3 sets of tough work i need at least a day off or i feel like they will strain. I do use a high intensity of training on calves though, rest pause ALOT, drop sets often, high high reps, decent weight.

I have really good calves too… not crap ones as you may suspect from the above post!

JJ

All I do are squats and 1-leg calf raises 3 times a week and mine are growing just fine.

Forearms are slower but they started tiny so it’s probably relative.

While I do believe that all muscles function in a similar stimulus->response->adaptation process to exercise, I think we’ve all been bombarded by the ‘muscle density’ theory. Now I don’t know if any muscles are necessarily denser than others, but I do know that the fiber type breakdown can be vastly different.

My calves truly sucked until I started hitting my gastrocnemei with low reps, and my solei with higher reps (and on different days too). I doubt that the growth was from training ‘calves’ twice a week, but merely from considering the fiber make up of each muscle involved.

S

[quote] JJ wrote:
If i do more than 3 sets of tough work i need at least a day off or i feel like they will strain. I do use a high intensity of training on calves though, rest pause ALOT, drop sets often, high high reps, decent weight.
[/quote]

I second this: it has been my experience that calves respond to many intensity techniques. My personal favorite for calves is the double-contraction technique.

Calves I will train more days than not. Forearms/grip not so.

[quote] JJ wrote:
If i didnt train my calves for a month or so and hit them with 2 sets of 100 reps of BW calf raises i would get compartment syndrome and be virtually crippled for a week to 9 days! (i did it on 2 different occasions!) Hot and cold contrasts for at least 1 hour a day, about 4x a week. I couldnt walk on my heels - had to be tiptoes!

Overtraining!!

If i do more than 3 sets of tough work i need at least a day off or i feel like they will strain. I do use a high intensity of training on calves though, rest pause ALOT, drop sets often, high high reps, decent weight.

I have really good calves too… not crap ones as you may suspect from the above post!

JJ[/quote]

Actually, this is consistent with most people I know that have naturally good calves. I have a few friends that never train calves, but have the nicest sets of anyone I know. All claim to have always had good calves, the rotten bastards! You are a bastard too, you good calf having person you. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have one friend that can’t even use a stair stepper because it causes painful pumps in the calves and soreness for days. Another says he can get calf cramps going up the stairs.

They all have the same complaint about training calves though. Any technique they use, techniques that would barely cause soreness for me, will make it so that they can barely walk out of the gym. They will be sore for days, where I can do another calf workout the next day.

My calves naturally suck, by the way.

Lol… mine fucking cripple me so badly if i walk up a hill i sometimes have to stop. I always saw it as a curse… but now you mention it…

That actually turns me onto something interesting… I’ll make a new post about it.

If I�??m not doing much hitting my calves with a lot of sets (more than 36) makes it hard to walk down to the showers. But after a few weeks of high-volume training I can start hitting my calves daily with dozens of sets (or just a few heavy ones) and not even feel it.

I�??ve never tried overtraining my forearms, tho. It just seems like a recipe for disaster.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
While I do believe that all muscles function in a similar stimulus->response->adaptation process to exercise, I think we’ve all been bombarded by the ‘muscle density’ theory. Now I don’t know if any muscles are necessarily denser than others, but I do know that the fiber type breakdown can be vastly different.

My calves truly sucked until I started hitting my gastrocnemei with low reps, and my solei with higher reps (and on different days too). I doubt that the growth was from training ‘calves’ twice a week, but merely from considering the fiber make up of each muscle involved.

S
[/quote]

Is that high reps on seated calf raise and low reps on standing?

I have been doing all rep ranges on all my variations but I might try changing up the emphasis.

[quote] JJ wrote:
Lol… mine fucking cripple me so badly if i walk up a hill i sometimes have to stop. I always saw it as a curse… but now you mention it…

That actually turns me onto something interesting… I’ll make a new post about it.[/quote]

Well sounds like your calves aren’t a lagging part so I can see why you might train them infrequently. By doing so it isn’t a surprise that you are sore to incapacity.

I think we all can agree that if we gave up leg training, as an example, for a few weeks then went all out on squats we wouldn’t be walking too well for a long time after that workout.

What I have been noticing though is that training trough soreness and a bit of performance dip on calves and forearms has upped my recovery and hasn’t elicited systemic fatigue like I have experienced when doing so with other lifts/muscle groups.

[quote]supabeast wrote:
If I�??m not doing much hitting my calves with a lot of sets (more than 36) makes it hard to walk down to the showers. But after a few weeks of high-volume training I can start hitting my calves daily with dozens of sets (or just a few heavy ones) and not even feel it.

I�??ve never tried overtraining my forearms, tho. It just seems like a recipe for disaster.[/quote]

This is exactly what I am experiencing and the same for forearms.

[quote]Heliotrope wrote:
JJ wrote:
Lol… mine fucking cripple me so badly if i walk up a hill i sometimes have to stop. I always saw it as a curse… but now you mention it…

That actually turns me onto something interesting… I’ll make a new post about it.

Well sounds like your calves aren’t a lagging part so I can see why you might train them infrequently. By doing so it isn’t a surprise that you are sore to incapacity.

I think we all can agree that if we gave up leg training, as an example, for a few weeks then went all out on squats we wouldn’t be walking too well for a long time after that workout.

What I have been noticing though is that training trough soreness and a bit of performance dip on calves and forearms has upped my recovery and hasn’t elicited systemic fatigue like I have experienced when doing so with other lifts/muscle groups.

[/quote]

who said i train them infrequently?! lmao! i train my calves 3 times a week minimum!

[quote] JJ wrote:
Heliotrope wrote:
JJ wrote:
Lol… mine fucking cripple me so badly if i walk up a hill i sometimes have to stop. I always saw it as a curse… but now you mention it…

That actually turns me onto something interesting… I’ll make a new post about it.

Well sounds like your calves aren’t a lagging part so I can see why you might train them infrequently. By doing so it isn’t a surprise that you are sore to incapacity.

I think we all can agree that if we gave up leg training, as an example, for a few weeks then went all out on squats we wouldn’t be walking too well for a long time after that workout.

What I have been noticing though is that training trough soreness and a bit of performance dip on calves and forearms has upped my recovery and hasn’t elicited systemic fatigue like I have experienced when doing so with other lifts/muscle groups.

who said i train them infrequently?! lmao! i train my calves 3 times a week minimum! [/quote]

Ah I see. Your original post made it seem like you might train them every week to nine days.

Actually three times a week using high intensity techniques is pretty supportive of calves being more resistant to over training then other body parts.

for me calves and forearm training is about giving them a stimulus they are not used to… Your calves are used to holding up weight and doing so all day… so you must stretch the muscle at the bottom of a movement and go all the way up to the big toe. high reps and fast movement…

Forearms are used to holding (gripping) things and are used all day… do movements that are not normally used -wrist curls-
med weight and full range of motion…

works for me any who…

The other day I had to cut a squat workout short due to some knee pain, which was kind of a drag, because I was very pumped that day. So I decided to spend my time in the gym doing movements that I normally don’t do. In particular I tried to kill my forearms completely.

Lots of BB reverse curls, standing and preacher.
wrist roller
plate pinches
DB holds
DB lever thingies

Just whatever I could think of really. Trying my best to really max out on everything and use weights that were challenging. The next day my forearms felt pretty much fine, a tiny bit sore if I flex them but otherwise fine.

Conversely, Whenever I got rock climbing my forearms are sore for a week.

When I did train calves they could end up sore for a week after one session! I don’t as much anymore since I’ve always been heavier and tended to walk on my toes as a kid so my calves are fine and get worked enough in compound movements-also I hated getting random cramps in my calves all the time from the way I walk-.

For forearms, anytime I train forearms I train grip. So my forearms don’t get over trained really but my grip does tremendously. My hands can become sore for over a week sometimes.

I think you can pretty much over train any body part if your doing it every day in high volume, of course thats an extreme but you get the point. I seriously don’t know how your calves are not getting sore, maybe its just me but those and arms seemed to get the most sore for me.

I do train calves twice a week, and do around 100 reps of calve raises every dayapart from when I train them at the gym gained about an inch or two in size.

No matter what people say about gastroc and low reps, soleus and high reps - mine love high reps all round. BW 100 rep sets are FANTASTIC and are the bulk of my results.

joseph J. Jay