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Strange Pain in Calf After Squatting

So after a set of 315x3 ATG, max acceleration, I developed some pain in the outer portion of my left calf about 3 inches below the knee. The pain runs up and down and seems to be isolated in some tendon or vein or something that I can run my finger over.

This also happened about half a year ago and eventually spread bilaterally. I stopped squatting thinking it was some isolated incident, but now it is clear that there is some deeper problem.

I have always had very big calves and as such have rarely, if ever, trained them directly. Also, my mobility in all areas is fine; I can sit into full ATG squat without losing neutral spine or having my hips fall under me.

I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced something like this? It only happens when I move the weight fast as I never had the problem before learning about the “Perfect Rep” (and fuck no I’m not going back to slow lifting, I’ve seen too much improvement doing it this way heh). I’m strongly considering giving in and finally doing directed calf work.

edit I’m 6’2" 220lbs, 21 year-old male with 0 injuries thus far.

I don’t think anyone can say for sure what the problem is. It could very well be a strain or small tear. It sounds like you may have an imbalance (strength, structure, or flexibility, who knows which) or some technique flaw. Either way, technique work with lighter weight is definitely in order once your calf feels better. I’d give it at least 2 weeks off, maybe even a month. In my experience (this is strictly anecdotal), direct calf work doesn’t tend to result in decreased injury, when people are prone to repeated injuries in the calf or lower leg, but it might be a good idea to give it a go anyway.

The blessing and curse of accelerated training is that force=massxacceleration, so increasing acceleration can increase force by a HUGE amount. That amount can definitely be greater than your body’s structural ability to absorb force and break you down, in the form of damaged muscles, tendons, or worse. I just had surgery to repair a ruptured pectoralis major tendon, thanks to my “perfect rep” being a little too perfect (or not so) for my tendon to withstand. High speed eccentrics can allow you to perform a faster/more forceful concentric, due to a rebounding like effect in the tendon and some “oh shit” sensors, that are supposed to shutdown your muscle contraction, being over ridden due to the speed (sorry, I’m too lazy to pull out the books and write and reference the proper technical terminology and explanation, but it’s in a bunch of those Soviet classics). All these factors can work in your favor or injure you. In my opinion, technique needs to be perfect and weights need to be low (I like the Westside way) for accelerated training to be worth the risk.

Christian Thib is much smarter than I am and may very well disagree with me. He would probably do so in a much more eloquent and convincing fashion too, so I don’t blame you if you don’t want to take my advice. It’s your body and you are the one who has to live with the injuries or increased strength you develop from your training.

Good luck with the calf. I hope it heals up soon.

I don’t really have a good answer for you but I currently have the same problem. Its happened once or twice before and always when i don’t catch the bounce in the snatch or clean or decided to do a lot of pause FS/BS, so for me anyway it seems to have something with accelerating out of rock bottom. It just goes away in about a week for me just when i start catching the bounce and doing regular squats. If you stop at the bottom of the lift you might want to try it with no stop or stop before you get to rock bottom. not sure if this will help any but its what works for me.