T Nation

Running/Calves Question

Hi guys. Just a quick question. I run or play basketball at least 5 times a week but I never feel my gastrocnemius working. I usually always feel my soleus and it is very often sore the day after a long tempo run or 5 or 6 games of ball.

Basically, my question is why can I not activate and utilize my gastrocs when running. I literally don’t feel them working at all. As a side note, even when I do calf exercises in the gym, it is very difficult for me to stimulate the gastrocs and induce any type of pump/ soreness/ feeling. Please believe when I tell you I’ve read every article about training calves on this site, I just cannot find effective methods to stimuulate the gastrocs.

Thank You for the help and I know it is difficult to answer the question of why running doesn’t stimulate my gastrocs without seeing me run, but I do not have access to a camera right now.

Read:
http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/Gastrocnemius.html

Summary: The gastrocs are most active in ankle flexion when the knee is almost straight, and in knee flexion when the ankle is dorsiflexed.

You know your gait better than us, so ask yourself if this explains the “problem”.

What’s your interest in gastroc development? Is it performance or size?

If its size, I’d recommend DoggCrapp methods for calves, even if you don’t do anything else their way. Nate Green put up their methods on an article some time back (should be easy to find), and there’s an active thread over in the Bodybuilding Training forum here.

For performance, you’ll have to look a little more yourself, or at least tell us what you’re looking to get better at.

[quote]fidelcashflow wrote:
Basically, my question is why can I not activate and utilize my gastrocs when running. I literally don’t feel them working at all.[/quote]

You’re likely using many muscle groups that you don’t necessarily feel working, so I think your first mistake is assuming that you’re not “activating” your gastrocs when you run.

[quote]fidelcashflow wrote:
As a side note, even when I do calf exercises in the gym, it is very difficult for me to stimulate the gastrocs and induce any type of pump/ soreness/ feeling.[/quote]

That’s likely because you are not working them hard and heavy enough. These muscle are extremely resistant to fatigue and require a great deal of effort for most people to stimulate.

If you want more specific advice, post your objectives and training routine.

Thanks to both of you for responding. I appreciate the input. To the first poster, that link was helpful and it made sense so thank you. I will have some analyze my running from to ensure that I am really pushing the ground back and extending the ankle. To be honest, my interest in calves is aesthetic in nature, so size. They are the only muscle I can say that for as the rest of my training is centered around strength and power (WS4SB). I just hate that I have been an athlete all of my life and have calves that resemble most of the kids at my school that play video games 12 hours a day.

Anyway I am 19, 170 5’11, Squat 2RM 275. Dead lift 2 RM 325. Bench 1RM 185. I know , those numbers are pathetic but I do feel I have made significant progress over the last 3 months in both size and strength. And believe me I know I need to get bigger, eat, and get stronger which should help with my calf development but they have not grown at all over the last three months and I have tried to put quality effort and time into training them. I have even tried the DC methods you mentioned and they were hard as hell but within a minute of stepping off the calf raise machine I could walk completely fine which makes me believe I have trouble working the gastrocs.