T Nation

From Calves to Cows

Are YOU like most people like i see in the gym? Do you stand in a Calf machine at the very end of a workout, bounce up and down for 10 reps or so, allowing gravity and momentum to do your set, repeat for 2 or 3 sets, then leave the gym feeling satisfied? Of the many muscles of the lower leg area, would you like to know how NOT to work them properly? See above workout.

There are many of us who think we are doing enough for our calves, who think we are training them properly, yet they tend do grow very slowly, if at all. I remember long ago when i first learned general things about the calf, things that people to this day ignore: The major muscles of the calves, The gastrocnemius and the Soleus, are hit differently depending on whether you are doing seated or standing calf raises.

That shook me there. Where 1 exercise was before, placed at the end of my workout and done half heartedly, became 2-3 movements with very intense outlines (For example, every angle supersetted). i learned that the calves are the muscle that you need to go heavy and high rep with, there is no one or the other. I learned the benefit of Stopping, allowing the weight to come to a complete stop at the bottom of the movement before pushing for another rep. My calves are now growing tremendously from what they were, as they are now 19inches. I dont know how that stacks up to the rest, but they are getting there.

Get them calves a-growing!

I’ve started working my calves first thing every workout, they’re pretty lame as I’m 6.2 foot tall,I weigh 220LB’s, I haven’t measured them but their bigger than my arms, I am noticing the difference (I just go by how they look) I alternate between high and low reps, and straight leg and bent legged exercises, just basically doing as much as I can, I am slowly getting results.
I agree with many others for me they are a difficult muscle group, but you gotta do what you gotta do…

Akuma, what did your calves start out at? You do that “double pop” as well right?

[quote]pumped340 wrote:
Akuma, what did your calves start out at? You do that “double pop” as well right?[/quote]

I couldnt tell you, i never really kept measurements earlier, but i do believe my calves were just under 18 several months ago, i wanna say like 5 or so? And currently, due to implementing such tools as the double pop, they 19.

I shouldve explained the double pop. The double pop is after allowing the weight to come to a stop, you perform the rep, at that top of the rep, you stop, Then you essentially push to go a little further. This makes you squeeze the muscle and ensure that you are hitting it to its fullest extent.

my calves measure 17 inches, and i dont even work them that often, they were definately over 17 inches when i was working them. But i felt like the time training them could be better put into something else, and i mean they are already bigger then my arms anyways.

Anybody here like doing calve raises from the floor and not on a block? I started doing them in the power rack, basically setting up the bar like a squat, taking a step back and then leaning forward so the bar rests on the power rack. Then I just go up and down. I prefer it on the ground as opposed to blocks because when the ROM gets too big, I end up with pain on the soles of my feet.

forbes that’s the only way I’ve found I can train my calves consistently… getting into the stretch position eventually causes a lot of arch pain so I gave it up.

Hmm, its something to definitely try. Limiting the stretch and full rom might create more of a bulge in the calf. I cant really see why you guys would get pain though, thats odd.

Mine are up to 16.5 and having started out with under 15, technique and focus are really important. 1. Fuck pain. Calves hurt at higher reps, you get the hell over it. 2. Don’t think high reps and high weight are possible? Wrong. 3. If you bounce the weight, you’re not stressing the muscle. Slow it the fuck down and squeeze the weight up. 4. Running, jump roping, and stretching will facilitate growth. I’ve bulked up as well and I have to say that weight gain probably helps.

[quote]TisDrew wrote:
technique and focus are really important. 1. Fuck pain. Calves hurt at higher reps, you get the hell over it. 2. Don’t think high reps and high weight are possible? Wrong. 3. If you bounce the weight, you’re not stressing the muscle. Slow it the fuck down and squeeze the weight up. [/quote]

Yep, Yep, and Yep. THose are several things you see wrong with people and their calf training daily, or atleast i do.

The people that are really big, fat or not, or were really big always have the largest calves. If you grew up as a fatty, im guessing you have some calf growth. And whats the tell us about calves? Heavy and hard. Heavy weight, long sets. Bam.

The DC protocol for calves takes a lot of discipline. I’m not doing DC at the moment, but I believe the general principle is worth following: a slow negative, followed by a pause to negate the stretch reflex. Basically what you’re talking about.

My calves were super scrawny when I started but are now starting to get meaty.

As for the pain thing, once I reached 205lb on the seated calf raise, I can’t do too many reps without pain. Feels like my calves are going to explode out of my skin!

[quote]therajraj wrote:
My calves were super scrawny when I started but are now starting to get meaty.

As for the pain thing, once I reached 205lb on the seated calf raise, I can’t do too many reps without pain. Feels like my calves are going to explode out of my skin!

[/quote]

If its muscle pain, i keep going. For something like calves, i believe you have to feel that to really grow. I remember doing something called “2minutes,” and it was essentially volume training on crack. You would perform the movement for 2 minutes, not reps, for 2 minutes. And you would hate it every second of the set, but it would get one hell of a pump.

[quote]Rational Gaze wrote:
The DC protocol for calves takes a lot of discipline. I’m not doing DC at the moment, but I believe the general principle is worth following: a slow negative, followed by a pause to negate the stretch reflex. Basically what you’re talking about.[/quote]

A pause is putting it lightly… it’s 15 seconds lol

Yeah I think the foot pain is just genetic weakness, it’s the tendons in my foot and if I push past it for too long I get crippling pain to the point of not being able to put pressure on it for days afterward.

Something I’m implementing is Dante’s “calf cardio” which is basically jacking up the incline on the treadmill, getting into a donkey calf raise position and doing 100s and 100s of single leg calf raises for 15-30 minutes while you do cardio. That+standing work with no stretch is A-OK tomorrow and I’m hoping to get mine up to respectable level after long neglecting them due to above mentioned pain/injury.

[quote]Akuma01 wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:
My calves were super scrawny when I started but are now starting to get meaty.

As for the pain thing, once I reached 205lb on the seated calf raise, I can’t do too many reps without pain. Feels like my calves are going to explode out of my skin!

[/quote]

If its muscle pain, i keep going. For something like calves, i believe you have to feel that to really grow. I remember doing something called “2minutes,” and it was essentially volume training on crack. You would perform the movement for 2 minutes, not reps, for 2 minutes. And you would hate it every second of the set, but it would get one hell of a pump.[/quote]

That sounds terrible. I’m going to try it. I read somewhere that Arnold used to do sit-ups for time. He worked his way up to 5 straight minutes. I discovered I got to around the 2 minute mark after some attempts.

[quote]TisDrew wrote:

[quote]Akuma01 wrote:

[quote]therajraj wrote:
My calves were super scrawny when I started but are now starting to get meaty.

As for the pain thing, once I reached 205lb on the seated calf raise, I can’t do too many reps without pain. Feels like my calves are going to explode out of my skin!

[/quote]

If its muscle pain, i keep going. For something like calves, i believe you have to feel that to really grow. I remember doing something called “2minutes,” and it was essentially volume training on crack. You would perform the movement for 2 minutes, not reps, for 2 minutes. And you would hate it every second of the set, but it would get one hell of a pump.[/quote]

That sounds terrible. I’m going to try it. I read somewhere that Arnold used to do sit-ups for time. He worked his way up to 5 straight minutes. I discovered I got to around the 2 minute mark after some attempts.[/quote]

Bah! Situps are useless! The world record holder for most situps doesn’t even have a visible six pack! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkqZCNUSxM4

.

i do a lot of volume for calves and forearms. i have two favorite things to do for calves-

  1. i’ll start halfway down the standing calf raise and do 6-8 reps DC style and do each increment util i’ve reached the entire stack. it’s usually 15 sets done in about 10 minutes. i also do it for seated and add 20lbs for each set until i reach 5 plates.

  2. i do rest/pause for 200reps on standing calf raise then move to seated and finish with toe presses on the leg press. so it’s a total of 600 reps. i also don’t do any half reps or speed up the tempo.

Will keep going Akuma.

Another way I’ve heard of people training calves is to load a barbell on your back with 25% of your BW and jump 20-25 times with minimal knee bend.

Source: Charles Poliquin

[quote]Scott M wrote:
forbes that’s the only way I’ve found I can train my calves consistently… getting into the stretch position eventually causes a lot of arch pain so I gave it up. [/quote]

And you see good growth with this? I always hear so much about making sure to get a great stretch

Good luck with the treadmill method. I actually wouldn’t even say it’s that bad (not like 15min of actual calf pressing for example) but it’s more that for the entire time you just count the minutes/seconds until it’s done lol. I did that and the typical DC method for months with nothing to show (yes, everything else was growing) but I seem to be the exception with that so I’d bet you’ll see some growth.

To the person who mentioned the 2 minutes thing, have you tried the actual DC method? It ends up being about 3+ minutes overall, but significant time in the stretch position.

[quote]maraudermeat wrote:
i do a lot of volume for calves and forearms. i have two favorite things to do for calves-

  1. i’ll start halfway down the standing calf raise and do 6-8 reps DC style and do each increment util i’ve reached the entire stack. it’s usually 15 sets done in about 10 minutes. i also do it for seated and add 20lbs for each set until i reach 5 plates.

  2. i do rest/pause for 200reps on standing calf raise then move to seated and finish with toe presses on the leg press. so it’s a total of 600 reps. i also don’t do any half reps or speed up the tempo. [/quote]

Damn that’s intense. How long does the 2nd one take you overall?