I think calf training is very misunderstood. I say this even though I have small calves.
I dont want to get branded as one of those “functional” types, but I think if people trained their calves in a more functional way, they would be much bigger. Im not against traditional calve training, but would recomend a heirarchy of calve training.
Heres some key points
*Include both high volume and low volume (or high intensity, and low intensity)
*Long distance running, or anything over 1 mile is probably insufficient intensity to gain any size. Otherwise marathon runners would have huge calves.
*So calve training would range from 1 rep being the most intense, to sprints. When i say 1rm I mean more likely the stimulus you get with plyometric training or o-lifts.
*Also, you should train in the gym both standing and sitting.
*Train explosive, and train slow, with reps from 5-30+
Lastly, and I think this is an important one. People dont tend to realize that concentrically your calves are not a very strong muscle. But they perform very well eccentrically. Even when jumping, your calves produce very little force compared to your hip muscles. Think of how high you can jump with an ankle hop, vs. just knee and hip extension.
Your calves are similar to your forearm muscles. They are great with speed and isometric contractions, but cant produce much strength concentrically. Think about how far you could throw a baseball with just a wrist motion, But you can grip a heck of a lot of weight doing deadlifts.
So isometric training and explosive training should be a major focus of training.
Isometrically, i’d say sprints and car pushing/sled dragging would be great.
Explosively, id say o-lifts, and plyometrics are enough.
Hope this helps, a little off topic of what you were asking but not completely.