T Nation

'Functional' Calf Training

Alright. I really enjoy pulling a heavy tire, but always end up limited by the strength of my calves.

There are two different ways I pull. I sometimes pull with a weight belt attaching me to the tire, and do more of a “power walking” type pull. Very little lean in this.

And then sometimes I use handles or a harness and use much more lean. This is where the calves tend to be the limiting factor as the weight goes up.

My question is, what; if anything, do you guys do to train your calves in the gym for heavy pulling type stuff?

Is it just regular old calf raises or is there something special?

Just get stronger.

first are you doin exercises to work your tibialis anterior ( muscle used to lift yout toes, located in the fron of your shins ), if not good time to begin. Farmers walk on your toes only with a good amt of weight, and form, will also add to you gaining strength and push them to new levels of strength and endurance…and lets not forget stretching, nutrition and rest. Best of luck to ya Brutha

[quote]Tone72 wrote:
first are you doin exercises to work your tibialis anterior ( muscle used to lift yout toes, located in the fron of your shins ), if not good time to begin. Farmers walk on your toes only with a good amt of weight, and form, will also add to you gaining strength and push them to new levels of strength and endurance…and lets not forget stretching, nutrition and rest. Best of luck to ya Brutha[/quote]

Why did you include a picture of yourself in your post?

[quote]musicma1n1 wrote:
Tone72 wrote:
first are you doin exercises to work your tibialis anterior ( muscle used to lift yout toes, located in the fron of your shins ), if not good time to begin. Farmers walk on your toes only with a good amt of weight, and form, will also add to you gaining strength and push them to new levels of strength and endurance…and lets not forget stretching, nutrition and rest. Best of luck to ya Brutha

Why did you include a picture of yourself in your post?[/quote]

He did it for the lolz

::facepalm:: @ self pics in posts about calves.

I dunno why, but I think hammering the seated calf raise should help. A buddy of mine made a conscience effort to walk on his toes for an entire year, and his calves grew like 4 inches. I don’t know how much stronger his calves got, but endurance went through the roof, when he wasn’t walking he would ether stand on his toes, or do bodyweight calf raise at work for his entire shift.

[quote]ucallthatbass wrote:
I dunno why, but I think hammering the seated calf raise should help. A buddy of mine made a conscience effort to walk on his toes for an entire year, and his calves grew like 4 inches. I don’t know how much stronger his calves got, but endurance went through the roof, when he wasn’t walking he would ether stand on his toes, or do bodyweight calf raise at work for his entire shift. [/quote]

Lol thats crazy. That sounds like a good way to screw up something. I’ll give the seated calf raise a try. Maybe focus on a strong hold at the top since this is the position I am while pulling.

The only other thing I could think of would be leg presses while on my toes.

Thx for the advice guys.

work ur tibbies, bare foot farmers on grass, and walk outs with a ton of weight like 150 % of ur 1rm(in shoes and bare foot, alternate)

[quote]ucallthatbass wrote:
::facepalm:: @ self pics in posts about calves.

I dunno why, but I think hammering the seated calf raise should help. A buddy of mine made a conscience effort to walk on his toes for an entire year, and his calves grew like 4 inches. I don’t know how much stronger his calves got, but endurance went through the roof, when he wasn’t walking he would ether stand on his toes, or do bodyweight calf raise at work for his entire shift. [/quote]

I’ve done a lesser version of this - just focusing on flexing my calves whenever I walked, especially when I went up a flight of stairs (there are a lot of stairs/hills at my college). This alone put about 1" on my calves, as well as making a huge visual difference in their thickness (twigs vs small trees lol)

I tried seated calves. Warmed up and then got a horrible cramp on my first set. Im not sure what the deal is with this. So i just did farmer’s walks instead.

[quote]dankid wrote:
I tried seated calves. Warmed up and then got a horrible cramp on my first set. Im not sure what the deal is with this. So i just did farmer’s walks instead.[/quote]

get back to basics. train them on your off days, something like seated raises 2x a week, but go light(15 reps) and gradually build up the weight week to week

[quote]matsm21 wrote:
dankid wrote:
I tried seated calves. Warmed up and then got a horrible cramp on my first set. Im not sure what the deal is with this. So i just did farmer’s walks instead.

get back to basics. train them on your off days, something like seated raises 2x a week, but go light(15 reps) and gradually build up the weight week to week[/quote]

I’ll try that, but I cant do them on off days, because I wont be near a seated calf raise. I’ll do them on my upper body days though.

Do you think its just weakness, or a problem that needs to be adressed with foam rolling or stretching. Its very common that I get a cramp doing seated calf work, but never when doing standing calf work. And it feels like when im doing leg curls with my toes pointed.

Well if you never do seat calf work then your are not training your calves completely. Seated raises hits the soleus, because when the knee is bent the gastrocnemius has relaxed and recruited less. Where are you cramping up or getting sore when you drag the tire; higher up closer to the knee on the inside, or lower about half way down?

I will second the farmer’s walk on the toes - on grass or hard surface…it works wonders.

[quote]dankid wrote:

I’ll try that, but I cant do them on off days, because I wont be near a seated calf raise. I’ll do them on my upper body days though.

Do you think its just weakness, or a problem that needs to be adressed with foam rolling or stretching. Its very common that I get a cramp doing seated calf work, but never when doing standing calf work. And it feels like when im doing leg curls with my toes pointed.[/quote]

perhaps. it could be a couple of things. the most simple is are you drinking enough fluid during your workout? It could also be that your legs are out of condition for example If you’ve been going heavy for a while and you suddenly switch to more endurance type stuff, your legs won’t be able to do the higher reps without cramping. those are my two guesses.

the seated calf raises were just a suggestion. any high rep calf movement will do the trick, if conditioning is the culprit

Thanks everyone, youve offered a lot of help.

When im pulling the tire, the place that tires out is on the lower portion of my leg, near the tendion, I think this is more soleus. When doing the seated calf raises though, my cramp was way up toward the knee on the inside.

Also, I dont think its so much about conditioning, as opposed to strength in my calves. My legs dont cramp up at all, its just my calves.

I’ll go ahead and work on the farmer’s walks on my toes for a bit. I also need more grip strength/endurance and to build up my forearms so this will kill two birds with one stone. And I can mix this in with my complexes for conditoining.

I have fat grips available, do you think there would be any uses for these during the farmer’s walks? If so, should I maybe just start with heavier shorter distance walks on my toes, and then as I fatigue, add the fat grips and decrease the weight a bit?

Thx guys, big help.

jumping squats for power!

[quote]Timmmmaaaaay wrote:
jumping squats for power![/quote]

Actually im very good at jumping squats and sprints etc. My problem is more with maximal strength and slower speed stuff as well as endurance.

So I tried the farmers walks on my toes today. I got up to 70’s for 60 ft and back for 3 sets. My grip is a limiting factor, so i’ll either have to wait for it to catch up or use straps.

Also, im not sure if I did it right, but it seemed bit better when I started walking faster and pushing off more on my toes almost like I was jogging.

On wednesday for some reason I decided to do 1 legged calf raises on the leg press. I think their was 270 toal on it and I did 15 reps left, 15 right,14,13, all the way down to 1. I wnated to stop when I got to 9. Now 3 days later they are still extremely sore something lie this may help.