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Direct Calf Work Neccessary?

Hello, I was just wondering if it was really necessary for me to do calf raises and such to build bigger calves. I already do squats, deads, power cleans however after learning that I should also work my biceps dirrectly with isolation, Im wondering if I should throw some direct calf work in there.

I don’t want to waste my time on them if heavy powercleans will do the job. Thanks for any advice or sugguestions.

Doing them couldn’t hurt.

Personally, I don’t do calves. Increase BW has grown my calves just fine. Along with the exercises you listed above. Calves are like forearms for me personally as far as growing.

umm since ive never gotten sore calves from deadlifting or squatting, or any exercise other than direct calf isolation im gonna go ahead and say yea.

i really cant see what the benefit in not doing them is. i cant think of anyone who doesnt train their calves directly either.

Unless you have great calf genetics or aren’t concerned with calf size, then yes, you should be doing direct calf work.

I don’t know too many people with impressive calves that built them with just doing stuff like squats and power cleans unless they already had good calf genetics in the first place.

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[quote]zraw wrote:
/end thread[/quote]

X2

Thanks for the great replies folks!
I will start doing calf raises with a quickness.

they’re the muscles a lot of folks think they can ignore, and then when your quads look decent, it will just draw attention to your crappy calves. You’ll be glad in the long run you at least did some direct calf work.

S

i completely neglect my forearms. i dont care though because they randomly blew up what seemed like over night and then i felt dumb because my forearms were near the size of my biceps+triceps. …yea.

i also ignore my shoulders a lot. they seem to be fine and are one of my strongest features so whenever i have something i need to do and cant train i push out the shoulder day. i havent train delts directly in probaly 3 weeks. and may only train them 2/4 seesions a month total.

I’ll agree that everyone has certain bodyparts that they can get away with taking it ‘easy’ on, remember that as you grow, the weaknesses will appear more glaring. ie.

I never thought my hamstrings looks like complete crap until my back and shoulders reached their current proportions. Most guys in my gym think my legs are great, but it all comes down to your goals.

I’d like everything to ‘fit’ together well, and possibly do a show in '09. Is that your goal, or is it enough for personal satisfaction and impressing the other gym goers? (there is no wrong answer)

S

I think most people should be doing direct calf work. Some people who have naturally larger calves (likely with low calf insertions) might not need to work them as much.

YES

Since this is in the Bodybuilding Section, Calves are obviously a MUST for isolation work.

Most likley, if you Squat 500+ your Calves will be big enough that no one will point out how small they are. They will mostly have developed from walking around at a bodyweight above 150. But if you want your calves to be more than just adequate, if you want to compete in shows, then do calf work.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
Since this is in the Bodybuilding Section, Calves are obviously a MUST for isolation work.

Most likley, if you Squat 500+ your Calves will be big enough that no one will point out how small they are. They will mostly have developed from walking around at a bodyweight above 150. But if you want your calves to be more than just adequate, if you want to compete in shows, then do calf work. [/quote]

I’m 240 and my calves don’t grow at all just from walking around. It’s pretty ridiculous to think they would.

Squats don’t even work calves. I don’t know where this rumor got started. Have you ever stopped a set of squats because your calves gave out and were completely on fire?

If you want muscular looking calves, work them. Very few are blessed with good calves without working them directly.

I will be the contrarian here. However, in all fairness, I am not a bodybuilder. I find that doing cleans, or in your case power cleans, suffices.

Good posts. I am doing this for personal satisfaction mostly (and to impress I guess). My calves, forearms, and biceps are my weak places. I don’t expect to ever have great calves since the insertion is high or whatever, but I definitely don’t want them to look scrawny compared to the rest of my body. I used to work them until I fell in love with heavy basics. I will stop neglecting them now, thanks for the advice guys.

[quote]elano wrote:
Good posts. I am doing this for personal satisfaction mostly (and to impress I guess). My calves, forearms, and biceps are my weak places. I don’t expect to ever have great calves since the insertion is high or whatever, but I definitely don’t want them to look scrawny compared to the rest of my body. I used to work them until I fell in love with heavy basics. I will stop neglecting them now, thanks for the advice guys.[/quote]

Don’t let have having a high calf insertion stop you. There have been many bodybuilders that have still been able to develop impressive calves despite high calves. It just may take more work to do so. Train them hard and don’t give up on them.

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
FightingScott wrote:
Since this is in the Bodybuilding Section, Calves are obviously a MUST for isolation work.

Most likley, if you Squat 500+ your Calves will be big enough that no one will point out how small they are. They will mostly have developed from walking around at a bodyweight above 150. But if you want your calves to be more than just adequate, if you want to compete in shows, then do calf work.

I’m 240 and my calves don’t grow at all just from walking around. It’s pretty ridiculous to think they would.

Squats don’t even work calves. I don’t know where this rumor got started. Have you ever stopped a set of squats because your calves gave out and were completely on fire?

If you want muscular looking calves, work them. Very few are blessed with good calves without working them directly. [/quote]

Your profile says you’re also 6’5".

I also said MOST LIKLEY.

Even if you do Squat 500 pounds, being 6’5" pretty much puts you in the category of a “special case.” I think we can both agree that you’re not build like most people.

And I didn’t use the Squat as a Benchmark Calf Exercise. I used it as an indicator of what your build would likely be if you could Squat 500 pounds. But if we’re gonna get technical, your calfs are going to get some tiny amount of work done in any type of squat where your knees move forward. When’s the last time I stopped a Squat set because my calves were burning? You’re right. Never. But when’s the last time you stopped a set of Rack Deadlifts because your Quads were killing you? Probably never. You see where I’m going with this?

It’s not that ridiculous that if you’re between 5’8" and 6" (like most people) that if you weighed enough, you’d build up the slow twitch muscle in your calves to a point where your calves wouldn’t be wimpy looking. They may not be diamond shaped, serrated, vascular beauties but you probably won’t get berated for them.

I’m not calling you skinny. I have no idea what you look like. But to prove my point, I’ll bet that YOU would get more Calf Growth out of gaining 20 pounds of bodyweight and doing NO DIRECT CALF WORK than you would by working up to 5 sets of 20 rep Calf Raises in a Smith Machine with 405 twice a week without gaining a signifigant amount of bodyweight.

But Clearly, if you’re after big calves then you need to work them directly and gain weight. I am not arguing that bodybuilders shouldn’t do direct calf work. BODYBUILDERS SHOULD DO DIRECT CALF WORK!

All I’m saying is that almost everyone else can probably get away without direct, isolated calf work and still have respectable sized calves. Of course there will be special cases, like guys who are 6’5", who will have poor genetics for calf size or who will have lower legs so long that they need to build significantly more muscle mass between their knee and their ankle in order to have calves that are as proportional as someone shorter with the same calf circumference.

Ed coan didn’t do Curls or Calf Raises, but he managed to sport arms and calves that didn’t look out of proportion.
They just appeared from training for powerlifting.
And don’t try to argue that he’s a special case because he’s so genetically gifted. If anything, he has some of the worst genetics for building size and that’s why he was so damn strong at such a light weight.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
LankyMofo wrote:
FightingScott wrote:
Since this is in the Bodybuilding Section, Calves are obviously a MUST for isolation work.

Most likley, if you Squat 500+ your Calves will be big enough that no one will point out how small they are. They will mostly have developed from walking around at a bodyweight above 150. But if you want your calves to be more than just adequate, if you want to compete in shows, then do calf work.

I’m 240 and my calves don’t grow at all just from walking around. It’s pretty ridiculous to think they would.

Squats don’t even work calves. I don’t know where this rumor got started. Have you ever stopped a set of squats because your calves gave out and were completely on fire?

If you want muscular looking calves, work them. Very few are blessed with good calves without working them directly.

Your profile says you’re also 6’5".

I also said MOST LIKLEY.

Even if you do Squat 500 pounds, being 6’5" pretty much puts you in the category of a “special case.” I think we can both agree that you’re not build like most people. [/quote]

My height is irrelevant in this case. It doesn’t change the fact that with every step I’m lifting 240 pounds off the ground.

Yes, but would you base your entire quad development around rack pulls? It simply isn’t enough.

Like I said previously. Height doesn’t matter, as the person is still lifting their body weight with each step. It’s like saying I could get huge arms by curling 10 pound dumbells many, many times throughout the day.

I neglected calf work for about a year, gaining about 30 pounds and seeing no improvement in my calves. I need direct work, and I suspect I’m not alone on this.

Agreed.

[quote]All I’m saying is that almost everyone else can probably get away without direct, isolated calf work and still have respectable sized calves. Of course there will be special cases, like guys who are 6’5", who will have poor genetics for calf size or who will have lower legs so long that they need to build significantly more muscle mass between their knee and their ankle in order to have calves that are as proportional as someone shorter with the same calf circumference.

Ed coan didn’t do Curls or Calf Raises, but he managed to sport arms and calves that didn’t look out of proportion.
They just appeared from training for powerlifting.
And don’t try to argue that he’s a special case because he’s so genetically gifted. If anything, he has some of the worst genetics for building size and that’s why he was so damn strong at such a light weight. [/quote]

You probably shouldn’t refer to “special cases”, as most people reading this site are not special cases. If someone wants bigger calves, they should train them directly. It’s the equivalent of the people on this site saying their biceps are their weak point and we see they don’t even train them directly.

Most people CANNOT build respectable calves without training them extremely hard. From what I’ve seen, it seems calves are the muscle most people have the hardest time getting to grow.

Ed coan didn’t do Curls or Calf Raises, but he managed to sport arms and calves that didn’t look out of proportion.
They just appeared from training for powerlifting.

And don’t try to argue that he’s a special case because he’s so genetically gifted. If anything, he has some of the worst genetics for building size and that’s why he was so damn strong at such a light weight.

I have Ed Coan’s book The Man, The Myth, The method and he says this about training calves…

“I have always worked my calves hard making it a point to include some type of calf exercise at the conclusion of every leg workout.”
He also does curls for biceps.

I think in his case as a powerlifter, you are only as strong as your weakest link and although calves are a smaller muscle group they are a muscle nonetheless.If you are a bodybuilder and only care about their appearance, train them if they are a lagging body part, if they are already up to par you don’t need to if you don’t want to.

Personally my calves are my worst body part, they do grow because they are bigger now then when I started training them, but they do not grow at the same rate as my other body parts do.

If anyone has had some success growing their stubborn calves, I would love to know what they have done.I am willing to try any program.I know I could run a search and find 50 programs, I am looking for ideas that you guys have actually DONE YOURSELF with success.

[quote]KeithJones wrote:

Ed coan didn’t do Curls or Calf Raises, but he managed to sport arms and calves that didn’t look out of proportion.
They just appeared from training for powerlifting.

And don’t try to argue that he’s a special case because he’s so genetically gifted. If anything, he has some of the worst genetics for building size and that’s why he was so damn strong at such a light weight.

I have Ed Coan’s book The Man, The Myth, The method and he says this about training calves…

“I have always worked my calves hard making it a point to include some type of calf exercise at the conclusion of every leg workout.”
He also does curls for biceps.

I think in his case as a powerlifter, you are only as strong as your weakest link and although calves are a smaller muscle group they are a muscle nonetheless.

If you are a bodybuilder and only care about their appearance, train them if they are a lagging body part, if they are already up to par you don’t need to if you don’t want to.

Personally my calves are my worst body part, they do grow because they are bigger now then when I started training them, but they do not grow at the same rate as my other body parts do.

If anyone has had some success growing their stubborn calves, I would love to know what they have done.I am willing to try any program.I know I could run a search and find 50 programs, I am looking for ideas that you guys have actually DONE YOURSELF with success.[/quote]

Well shit. I’m wrong. I remember seeing an interview with Coan where he said that Biceps were just ornaments on a tree and that he never trained them.

There. I’m wrong. I’m so wrong. I’m embarrassed.