T Nation

Mad Calf Disease

I want bigger calves. All I’ve been doing is calf raises with the leg press, Olympic lifts, and all the big lifts for legs. I’m thinking I could use more isolation work for calves or a new set/rep scheme. I have a decent amount of width that normal non-gym goers lack but I don’t have any thickness. I’m sometimes jealous of the calf development on obese people. I just want to slice out that meat and surgically implant it into my own calves. Its not like their using it for anything.

So help me get some bigger calves. Tell me what to do.

Honestly, calves are a bitch to grow. You really need to gain weight and they’ll come. Isolating them is fine to do. Work them with high frequency. So work them every time you lift.

Some research.

One of my favorite calf exercises is walking on the treadmill. Set it at the highest incline possible, walk 3-4 MPH. 10 minutes, if possible. I like to throw these in at the end of my workout. Sounds easy, but it will KILL your calves!

try jogging a mile on your tip-toes every other day. Or try eating 90,000 KCAL a day until you reach your desired calf thickness.

In order of the most effective.

  1. Syntherol

  2. Double rest pause sets. Say you fail at 12 reps, wait 10 seconds rep out again to failure say 4, wait 10 more seconds, again to failure. You know you did it right if it feels like a pitbull just took a bite out of your calf.

  3. Superheavy weighted stretches. Put the max amount of weight on a standing calf raise or calf press machine and just stretch for about 40-45 seconds in the max stretch position. Do this after your calf workout 2-3 times.

Number 2 and 3 have put more beef on my calves in the last two months than the previous 5 years. FYI I have yet to try #1.

Emulate the obese people. Wear a weight vest with enough weight to make you “obese” and go walking.

Gaining overall body weight while regularly working calves is the only thing that made mine grow at all. You can’t stick around the same weight and expect growth on that body part unless you are genetically gifted in that area to begin with.

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
Emulate the obese people. Wear a weight vest with enough weight to make you “obese” and go walking.[/quote]

While your at it you can get a loose vest and do shrugs all day while you walk.

Speaking of genetics, I don’t know of way to specifically add thickness in that area. Make sure you are working the soleus which means seated raises of some kind. Leg curls with the toes pointed down/heals pulled toward the knee also work this muscle to a degree.

Somebody may know something I don’t, but the limited motion (plantar and dorsiflexion), up and down, precludes a wide variety of possible movements. You can play with volume, frequency and intensity, but there aren’t 50 different ways to hit these muscles.

Buy some IGF-1. That will do the trick for life :-p.

I remember Chad saying to walk for 20 minutes on treadmill, incline set to 11 for a slow walk for active recovery.

Remember the part about working them regularly in X’s post. I thought they would grow by themselves as I got bigger, but 65 lbs later and they didn’t. Now I’m in major catchup mode!

I like to mix training up on stubborn muscle groups, one alternative for calves you may want to try is hill walking. I’ve noticed that many experienced hill walkers (both men and women) have ridiculously big calves.

I was hill walking on Sunday and had a real burn on my calves for the best part of an hour whilst going uphill over rocky/sandy terrain. Seems like working consistent long bouts will get them stimulated for growth!

Complete repititions — complete stretch to complete contraction. Calf raises already have a short ROM, so don’t shorten it any more.

You do NOT have to do that every day crap. You already do high-rep, low resistance calf work every day when you walk. What makes people think that more of the same will produce growth?

Constant variety is key. I do my sets and reps different every time I train calves (usually 1-2 times per week directly). Slow reps, fast reps, vary the weight, 5 reps to 30 reps.

Typical: Fast positive and slow negative
DoggCrapp: 5-seconds in the stretch position
Slow Burn: 1-2 second negative with a 5-8 second positive

Mix it up and grow.

Later,
Scott

I think that if you work them 3 times a week, but beat the shit out of them when you work them, you’ll feel soreness and see growth. Also, and I think this is odd, but runners seem to have (maybe not huge) but well-defined calves.

Anyway, I’m one of those guys cursed with small calf “muscle bellies” where the muscle doesn’t go the whole way down. I’ve had bad calves my whole life and it sucks. It’s something I’m working on the above plan has helped me.

I distinctly remember a girl saying to me, “you have such nice, thin calves and I hate mine.” I was like, “uh, let’s trade.” This chick had awesome legs. lol

Strangely though, she thought it was a good thing for a guy to have thin legs! I felt like a damn chicken back then!

[quote]dhuge67 wrote:
Anyway, I’m one of those guys cursed with small calf “muscle bellies” where the muscle doesn’t go the whole way down. I’ve had bad calves my whole life and it sucks… [/quote]

This is a point that needs to be underlined. If you have ‘short’ calves, then your growth potential is limited. I’m not saying to use this as an excuse, but just to keep your expectations realistic.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Gaining overall body weight while regularly working calves is the only thing that made mine grow at all. You can’t stick around the same weight and expect growth on that body part unless you are genetically gifted in that area to begin with.[/quote]

This is pretty much the same answer i give everytime somebody asks this question. Its amazing how simple some of this stuff really is.

I personally thought that my calves would just never grow, then i started hitting the squats and deads, training them everytime i trained, and even training them when i was just at work at the gym, when i had a moment or two free, id just go hit a set or two on the leg press or seated calf machine, or just while i was just standing by the counter.

Also, its amazing what a simple weight gain of 30 pounds will do for your legs, and pretty much everything else.

–JB

[quote]simon-hecubus wrote:

DoggCrapp: 5-seconds in the stretch position
[/quote]

Do you mean that pausing 5 seconds in the fully stretched position between reps is useless? Because I thought I recently read that this would limit the “rebound” effect and make your calves work harder.

I’m one of those guys with tiny calves, and I’m just trying to figure out how to make them grow.

[quote]cool-hand wrote:
simon-hecubus wrote:

DoggCrapp: 5-seconds in the stretch position

Do you mean that pausing 5 seconds in the fully stretched position between reps is useless? Because I thought I recently read that this would limit the “rebound” effect and make your calves work harder.

I’m one of those guys with tiny calves, and I’m just trying to figure out how to make them grow.

[/quote]

Ok, i think that you were thinking that we was calling the stretching method Doggcrapp as an insult, but he was actually referring to a method of weight training that includes “loaded stretching” which is sometimes referred to as Doggcrapp or the DC method.

Do a search for it, its got some interesting points. CT used something like it after his last high volume phase i believe.

There is no shortage of info on this site about it, just go hit up the search function.

–JB

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
All I’ve been doing is calf raises with the leg press[/quote]

Do more calf exercises? Squats and deads and olympic lifts never did anything for my calves.

Lots of short sprints when I was playing indoor soccer, plenty of long uphill cycling (when you’re standing up on a bike going up a steep hill, there’s a large ROM at your ankle) and 3-4 calf exercises per workout are the three things that ever had an effect on my calves.

I did try crazy volume schemes of super high reps and very short rest periods, but training mainly in the 8-20 rep range with normal rest periods and full ROM worked best.