T Nation

calves

I’ve got calves that look like my 5y old sons. Once and for all, high reps or low reps? Im currelnty on a AAS diet-cycle and every thing grows exept from the calves. I dont work them like RC or J.Cuttler, but mush more strikt, The way those guys work is agains everything I have read about training. I have tried high reps (15-20), low reps (1-4), droppsetts, 1-5min between the sets, nothing semms to work. I have tried standing calf raises,seated calf raises, donky, hacklift, calveraise in leggpress and nothing seems to work. Sometimes I get sore as hell the next days and some times I dont fell anything at all. I have not tried low rep training (1-4, mush rest between sets) as mush as high rep. My strength increases pretty mush when I do heavy low rep training, but NO size what so ever. My calces are 14,5 inches and my armes are 18… please help me … Powerman

Pman, my gastrocs are genetically smallish as well, you just have to attack the hell out of them in a proper fashion. Meaning, FULL extension and contraction. Go all the way down and with straight knees, don’t bend them, go all the way up like (dare I say) a ballet dancer, up on your toes. Its a killer but the right technique is usually missing with failure to gain, IMO. At least its not as bad as a “Davies Carry”: 2 sandbags on your shoulders up stadium steps!

Do you use proper form?
I see guys rolling the foot over the edge, if you do that try this:
make sure your toes are on the platform/bar/whatever DON’T let them hang over.
Then push up and make sure to get onto your toes.

Made a HUGE difference for me.

Calves can handle a ton of workload. Just increase the amount of volume for your calves. Add jump roping, GPP, sprints, etc. along with seated, standing, donkey calf raises. As the others said, make sure you have good form.

I’ve read that an ART practitioner can help with streatching the sheath that surrounds your calf muscle. The article sayed that the guys calves exploded after a couple ART sessions. I’ve also been doing a modified 10x10 routine that I think Polquin wrote about on here. Standing calf press - max out at 10 reps - count to ten(drop the weight) do ten more - count to ten and so on. Buy the end your calves will be throbbing. Then superset donkey raise and seated press. This will make them sore as hell if nothing else.

Make sure every rep COUNTS. I see guys who think speed of the set will get them huge calves and they mindlessly clank out set after set, with nary a complete rep.

If you think about it, your calves get quite a bit of work from just general everyday activities. So, you have to literally saturate them with work in gym and as was previously suggested, rope jumping, sprinting, etc. Good form, high volume, heavy weights and work them from a variety of positions.

Same here. I added 1,5 cm to my arms in 6 months and only 3mm to my calfs! They’re now the same size

You can try working the Tibialis (thats how i got those 3 milimeters).

Most people don’t understand that for some the calves just don’t grow, they just say train more, train harder, etc…Oh well…

I go to the gym 4 times a week in the morning (morning swimming), but I found that I had some extra time. So I experimented on my calves.

Here are the facts. Calves are stupid strong. And they’re really high endurance. There’s almost no way to “shock” them. What I did vary the stimulus received in the gym vs. what I knew they could handle. I’d alternate the “intense” day between sitting and standing raises (monday was intense standing then token sitting, tuesday was intense sitting then token standing, etc.) After warm up, find a decently heavy weight and do 10 reps fairly slowly (reach burning failure). Rest a minute. Do 8-10 more (burning failure). Rest a minute. Increase the weight quite a bit and do 6 reps fairly slowly - hopefully you’ve heavily depleted the energy stores by now. On the last rep, lock out in the extended position for as long as you can handle it (this should burn) - this is to drain the last ergs of short-term energy from the muscle. Finally, lower the weight (slowly, it’ll hurt) and rest the calves in the extended position for 10-15 seconds (this is a weighted stretch in a fatigued state). This should cause quite a bit of microtrauma, of the hypertrophying kind. If you want, you can throw in another last set. … then I’d move on to the “token” exercise for the other position (this will get the blood flowing, reassure the muscle you haven’t forgotten about it, etc). Please note that being forced to stretch in a fatigued state is a very different stimulus from everyday activity. My calves exploded, to the point actually when I now do heavy sets to maintain them while my legs catch up.

hey i know how you feel. compared to the rest of my body, my calves suck. i have been doing chad waterbury’s 100 reps ever non calf day for a week and a half, and already am looking more vascular and can handle heavier weights. i suggest you try it.

I would do Poliquins calf training workout 3 days/week alternating each workout m/w/f. In addition to this try incorporating some jump rope training on the days you’re not training calves and even on the same day if you’re up for it. Build up to 6 sets of 3 minute rounds and on the weekends stay off your calves completely to let them recover. If you’re doing this and eating in a caloric surplus and your calves still won’t grow then chances are nothing will make them grow.

Just want to second what Kelly said, which brings up a point that the others seem to have missed. Caloric surplus. Those are the two words you need to remember. Also, two other peices of advice:

  1. Try Poliquin’s Luke Sauder calf workout from T-mag issue #1. I tried it and had the worst DOMS I’ve ever experienced. (And my calves grew!) Personally, I don’t think that a higher workload is the answer when it comes to calves, simply because they’re exposed to such a high workload already. A different workload is the key, and Luke Sauder will give it to you!
  2. Read the article a couple of issues ago about improving one bodypart at a time. The author gave a lot of very good advice about what to do around a specialization program. Good luck!

Here’s a simple tip for ya - something that really gets my calves going.

SUPERSET high weight low rep seated calf raises with UNWEIGHTED standing calf raises.

For example, do a set of 8 - 10 seated calf raises with as much weight as you can handle, then get up and do unweighted standing calf raises till your crying =).

Do this 3 or 4 times.

This has worked great for me. I think the combination of high weight low reps and low weight high reps in the same workout is what does it. The weighted calf raises tear you up, the standing ones give you the burn and the pump.

Good luck dude!

That Luke Sauder Routine is killer. Literally. I remember doing it and not being able to walk normal for the next few days. I did gain about 1/2 inch in 4 weeks without androgens or much of a caloric surplus. It had to have been the best calf routine I had done. I think it worked so good because it did have high volume. High volume along with variety are key to calf training (not to mention TUT, rest periods, etc). I have noticed, for me, that calf workouts should be changed almost weekly. Exercises mostly. Also, since calves already receive a lot of volume, it is my opinion that they should receive even more attention if you want them to grow. Ten minutes of seated raises ain’t gonna cut it for most people.

Thanks to all of you… (I have tried Poliquin’s Luke Sauder calf workout from T-mag issue #1, if made me sore, but no increase in muscle mass. I use proper form. full extension - full kontraktion. I keep my knees locked, I dont bend them. (sorry for the bad english) Thank you all for helping me out, but I still dont know what to do…

In the poliquin principles, poliquin says to do high reps for the soleus (on stuff like seated calf raises) as they are predominantly slow twitch, and low reps for the gastrocs (on stuff like standing calf raises) as they are predominantly fast twich

the best thing I have done for my calves is deadlift - the stress on your soleus at the bottom is huge. I think that I read somewhere that during the intial portion of the deadlift the soleus takes about 25% of the load. A quick way to kill your soleus is to superset seated calf raises with deadlifts. Also good for your calves are wave squats in which you squat done nomally but upon the ascent you explode up on to your toes ( obviously reduce the load slighlty). you can always do a set of calf raises between the rest periods of all your other exercises even upper body stuff -this allows you to do up to god knows how mainy sets for your calves whilst not increasing the time spent in the gym.

hi there. you see… Im a powerlifter and I do lots of squats and deadlifts, but it does`nt make my caves any bigger. Thanks anyway

Maybe this will help. For the inside of the calf, knees locked, low reps, roll off big toe. For the outside, seated/knees bent, high reps, roll off other toes. Also, definately try Chad Waterbury’s 100 REPS TO BIGGER MUSCLES. Seriously.