T Nation

Inner Calves Problem

How you guys flex/feel calves when training?
I cant hardly flex inner valves at all, and outer just little bit more, pump and burn is under calves (soleus?) It doesnt matter if i stand, sit, leg press, donkeyraise or twist out / in or what weights i use… Why those fckrs wont flex properly??? Only spot that i can feel is just under outer calves. I can flex them only without weight with bend leg(cramping) is this normal? Should i just do move and not think flexing or feeling at all?

Are you pointing your toes outwards? Doing that while focusing on the stretch made a big difference for me.

1 Like

this

Also - missed this

the first time I read your post.

Bent leg flexing is hitting your soleus. It may give the illusion of really hitting that inner calf muscle, but if you bend your leg and flex your ‘calf’, while poking and prodding at your inner calf muscle, you’ll feel that (provided it’s not actively cramping) it’s quite soft, and not flexed properly. Continue to feel that part of the calf while extending your leg and continuing to flex, and you’ll feel the muscle properly shorten and contract. The soleus runs underneath the gastroc, so it’s not surprising that people can confuse the two with regards to a contraction, but make no mistake - you need a relatively straight leg to target the calf.

I’m a big believer in the stretch though, as are many others, hence @RampantBadger’s endorsement of my previous post. Increasing Time Under Tension and upping the frequency/intensity of calf work will get you results. Whether those results are satisfying to you is another question. In my humble opinion, nothing is more dependent on genetics than whether or not you end up with a sweet set of calves. That’s not an excuse to not work them, or to not try to grow them, it’s just an observation - some of the guys with the biggest calves I’ve ever seen have barely worked them at all, they were just always big.

Yes, few friend have humongous calves, and they just sit in home and play…
So its NOT necessary to feel or flex caves?
I just go through moves with massive intensity and volume? That give me just sore lower leg about 15–20 centimetres of ground, not valves :grin:

Instead of pointing your toes in our out try using a wide stance, feet farther apart to hit inner calves and narrow stance with feet closer together for outer calf.

When you do your raises, instead of thinking about pressing with your toes and driving your heels “up” imagine that you are driving your heels “forward.” Like pressing off the gound powerfully during a spring vs just kinda getting up on your tippy- toes.

Pausing at the bottom or in the stretched position can help kill the stretch reflex and help you not bounce on the way up. Holding a pause at the top can help you feel the contraction better.

Some times I rig up standing calf raises so my heels are on the floor at the bottom and each rep starts “dead” from the floor with zero bouncing. This can help get the work on your calf muscles and not your ankle tendons.

2 Likes

I would really bet you’re having a tough time getting your knees straight when doing standing/ donkey raises. It’s pretty normal because we’re used to not locking them out because, you know, it tends to not be the safest.

I’d get those knees really straight, and count your time in the stretch and at the flex when you’re all the way up on your big toe. At least 2 seconds in each position on each rep. I also like higher reps (~15 is my sweet spot) because it’s really easy to cheat heavier weight.

I have two questions…

  1. is your calves extremely undersized or underdeveloped.
  2. Do you plan on steeping onto a stage for physique or bodybuilding?
    If your answer is no to these questions…
    Your overthinking it.
2 Likes

My right knee wont go full extension, maybe 3-5 degrees bent… 2 knee operations caused it. I simply vant feel my calves, what ever i do.

I always do over 12 reps…strenght level is shit, i cant do 60 reps even my own weight. And it stays same, all other movements i am fairly strong.

Biggest problem is that inner calves wont flex properly, those remain fairly soft if touched middle of lift.

So are you saying you have a injury? Is the calve not functioning in everyday life?

Again…are your calves extremely underdeveloped because of this? Do you plan on being on stage?

I have been working on mine for the past 6 months or so. Even though I’m training at home, I have used various methods to increase intensity - standing, sitting, hooked up to the landmine, band resisted, slow negatives, unilateral, drop sets, supersets, etc. I do think variety and frequency is key here; although I do tend to stick with higher rep ranges. I have now just started doing BFR for calves and hope that will kick off some new development.

I also endorse the loaded stretch after your last set. I do that with most muscle groups (not quite DC style but same idea) and calves are ideal candidates. I always remember Boyer Coe advocating this and his calves were awesome.

1 Like

This could be interesting. Please do post back with your experience. For calves, BFR makes some evil sense.

Will do. I caught sight of my calves mid-set and saw veins I never knew I had down there!

I have been using BFR maybe once a week on quads and hamstrings. But want to extend this to smaller muscles, like calves, biceps and triceps.

There is some good science on BFR, which, from memory, involves doing sets 3 sets of 30 reps with 30s RIs (look it up; there was some Scandinavian study out a few years back). TBH, I am doing less volume than that (1-2 sets max) because of my higher frequency programme.

I remember reading about it and the main takeaway, if I am remembering correctly, was the subjects achieved similar hypertrophy to the control group (the parameters of which I don’t recall) at around 30% 1RM. I think the ley conclusion was this was a good method for hypertrophy without wear and tear, but obviously limited to distal bodyparts in practice.

The calves seem like excellent candidates: you can easily occlude them, going heavy tends to shift the stress to connective tissue anyway, and they’re kind of our own control for most of us - we’ve all tried to grow calves the “normal” way and been frustrated at some point!

What have you seen on quads and hamstrings? Hypertrophy without joint stress seems like a holy grail, at least for some parts of the year.

Nothing exceptional. However, let me put that in context. Due to lower back issues, many months back I swapped out many big movements for backward sled dragging, which became the mainstay of my quad work. As you’ll probably know, these are brutal for lactate accumulation. So I feel I can handle this type of torture far better. I have also been near zero carb for almost two months now and you do not generate the same level of lactate, so I don’t get that excruciating pain with high rep pump type work anymore. In terms of hamstrings, I was again doing a lot of pump work - mainly reverse 21s - as part of Fortitude Training, so BFR isn’t a huge leap for me. What I should do, one of these days, is nothing but BFR for legs and arms for a month. That would be a proper experiment!

1 Like

To maintain in that kind of a situation is a big win

Calves function is normal. I might compete at stage, but main reason is i just want to be big. And i have tried everything, calves just wont fire properly. Right leg is little shit because of knee ops, but it work.