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Given Up On Calves
 

Sarev0k
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2009
Location:
Posts: 1164

The Mighty Stu wrote:
While I get a lot of comments on my calves now, they didn't really come into their own until about 5-6 years ago. Some people view this as a success, but to me, it also means that I spent 13 years being unable to figure out what to do in order to get those bastids growin'!

What I did (in case any of this sounds applicable):
-Split my gastroc and soleus into 2 seperate workouts
-Started using straight leg calf machines or leg sleds as I was always limited by the standing calf machine because it felt awkward and crushed my traps once I piled a lotta weight on
-Focused on the different fiber types of the two different muscle groups, low rep for gastroc, high rep for solei
-Did the higher rep work after legs as I knew I'd already be tired, but did the low rep (heavy weight) work after upper body (chest) so there would be no reason for not absolutely killing it

-Looked for any opportunity to stretch my calves, usually while walking my dog, if we stopped for some serious sniffing, I'd stand on the curb and stretch the entire time until we moved on.
-No bouncing, I don't care how much weight you think you're moving and how it will overload your muscles.
-Slow negatives, Explosive positives and a damn hard squeeze at the top or every rep
-Even with the low rep/heavy weight work, I'd always do a drop (usually a 5x time) for my last set to really push some blood in there and stretch everything out (not sure if I fully buy inot FST7 training, but an ocassional pump set does have its place in my book)

Certainly not the ultimate article on calf training, but maybe a tip or two may strike a chord the next time you're pounding away.

S


Thanks for the tips, and it shows already that you have good calves. I will attempt to split up solei and gastroc. I already do the reps as you have stated, so that won't be a problem.

in my last post, i put the amount of time i put into each routine to show that i didnt do calves for a month and quit. its literally been years of grinding away at em with little progress.

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Sarev0k
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2009
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Posts: 1164

Iron Dwarf wrote:
Sarev0k


I've always had shitty little calves. They're naturally high on my shin, and for years I THOUGHT I was training them hard (lots of volume and frequency), but the growth was almost non-existent. A couple of years ago I even tried an 8 week SuperSlow blast working up to almost 600 lbs that only gave me a mere 1/8" of growth!

Last year I made up my mind that I had to prioritize calves. I had to make a real connection with them... almost a love affair. They became my main focus every day. I'd look at them from every angle in the mirror and in the shower. I'd flex them in all different positions - all to make THAT connection.

First thing I did in the gym was dump the traditional standing calf raise machine. Too many guys half-ass it anyway and so it's no use using a calf machine where your heel stretches lower that your toes on the block. So I began doing FLAT-FOOTED, BARE-FOOTED calf raises in the Smith Machine! I'd ramp up several sets until I reached 350 lbs or so, then I would explode up, hold for a moment at the top, and slowly lower until my heels were flat on the floor, then repeat until I hit failure (usually 18 to 20 reps). Then I'd rest only long enough to allow the burn to go away, catch a quick drink from my bottle, then back under again for a set to failure. I continued this as each set I was doing less and less reps due to fatigue. I'd terminate the session when I reached the point where my reps were falling below 5 or 6. Sometimes this happened within 9 sets, sometimes 12. I increased weight when I could do more than 20 reps on the first set.

Two or 3 days later I did Calf Presses on the Selectorized Stack Leg Press machine. In this position, it's almost like a Donkey Calf Raise. Same as before, I started by ramping up the weight until I got to the heaviest set that allowed for 12 to 15 reps. Explode on the push, slow on the descent for a full stretch, until failure. Then rest until the burn subsides. Now, on the next set, I'd reduce the weight 30 lbs and go to failure again. Rest, reduce 50 lbs, and failure? continue until you can only get 5 reps a set, then stop the session.


The following week, I'd repeat the Smith Calf Raises as described above.

Then 2-3 days after that I'd do the Calf Presses on the Leg Press again... only now, after a thorough warm-up I'd train each leg separately, starting off with a weight that allows 10 negative only reps! I'd do this by pushing with both feet until fully contracted, then remove one foot and let the other SLOWLY lower into a full stretch. Then repeat until 10 reps are reached. Then switch to the other foot. These are a killer and you should only do 3 sets. Add weight when you can do over 12 reps each foot.
For variety, I'd sometimes do this session where it's still negative-only reps, but I'd alternate each foot as I repped. In other words, push with both, lower with left foot, push with both, lower with right foot until failure. I'd end up each of these sessions with dropping the weight by half, and just repping the hell out of both legs together for a set or two.

Then the next week redo the Smith Calf routine.

Soreness was devastating at first. But if possible, I'd do calf raises in the shower every day, as I washed my hair or whatever. Just a couple of sets of 30 to 50 reps for a nice little pump.

Within 4 months I brought my once-shitty calves up an inch and a half! And on a small guy like me, that's substantial!


That's great progress. I will take a look into this.

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waylanderxx
Level 3

Join date: Mar 2008
Location:
Posts: 8965

Holy shit, an actual training post from ID?!

WHAAATTTTTTTT

;)

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Spidey22
Level 1

Join date: Jun 2009
Location: Kentucky, USA
Posts: 3875

Just food for thought, I notice if I get lazy, and don't train calves seriously for a few weeks, I start getting pain around my Achilles tendon. I think doing a little bit of iso work for calves (really for all body parts) should be done at the very least to prevent weak points and imbalances to occur, not just aesthetically but strength wise as well.

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mat_angus
Level 3

Join date: Dec 2010
Location: France
Posts: 259

Hello from France (understand : 'excuse my English' ;-)

For the last THREE months I only gained 1/5 of an inch while training my calves on a high frequency basis, EVERY workout (3 to 5 times a week).
I NEVER skiped a workout.

I then posted on this forum because the results was not what I expected.
Chris Colucci told me to try training them LESS often.

Last month, while keeping going on calories and the same workout plan, I trained my calves pretty close to what Stu told here :
-Split gastroc and soleus, and only once per week for each. Sometimes, I even skiped one workout because of time issue or lack of motivation...!
-low rep for gastroc (standing calf machine), high rep for solei (seated calf raises on a Smith machine)

In ONE month, I gained another 1/5 of an inch.
My calves feel less sore everyday, time recovery was better.
Should I mention that not focusing on this shit every workout was a good improvement and gave me another and great motivation when it was 'calf time' !?


Mathieu
and oh...I played basketball for 10 years and still have shitty calves ;-)

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Iron Dwarf
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Join date: Feb 2008
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 16335

waylanderxx wrote:
Holy shit, an actual training post from ID?!

WHAAATTTTTTTT

;)



Hell, I'm just flattered that you even noticed.


lol

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americaninsweden
Level

Join date: Feb 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 352

Just to give the basketball players a little credit, Ray Allen has some nice calves.

http://www.celticstown.com/...les-500x300.jpg

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americaninsweden
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Join date: Feb 2012
Location: Sweden
Posts: 352

Sorry two posts.

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audiogarden1
Level

Join date: Sep 2009
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 2876

My calves arent great, but they dont seem to necessarily be a trouble spot, its just that ive never been terribly consistent with them. They are 18" right now for whats its worth, and thats with some pretty half assed calf training but anyway:

HS donkey calf raise machine

seriously

Ive gone through periods of time where ive blasted the fuck out of my calves and seen nothing and then just stopped training them altogether. Lately i have been doing ONLY the HS donkey calf raise machine for about 8 sets per workout, switching between wide and narrow stance, slow negatives, pause at the bottom, squeeze at the top.

This is the only time my calves are ever sore, and they are consistently sore after every workout, and seem to be shaping up.


Just a thought

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MJW806
Level 1

Join date: May 2011
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 21

Terrible, Terrible calves here.

I would kill for some of the calves on these guys saying theirs suck lol

Ive finally been seeing some real tangible progress lately, Ive been hitting them hard directly after squats, and the thing I think has helped the most has been doing them on the seated leg press, true horizontal one, I finally found a use for that thing lol. It lets/forces me to stretch them for a greater rom.

Ive been going as heavy as a I can for 5x10-15, really focusing on the thrust then holding/squeezing the rep.

Wasted a lot of time the dedicated calf machines.

As someone else mentioned stretching them helps a ton.

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JingleBalls
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Join date: May 2012
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 16

Sketcher Shape UPS bro.

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LYFT-R
Level

Join date: May 2012
Location:
Posts: 20

Dude, don't give up on calves. They are a pain to train but just cos something is difficult it doesn't mean its impossible. You here some success story's in the post so just use them for inspiration and go hard. You could also try seeing a physio or sports specialist maybe they can shed some light on the problem? Anyway man good luck

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Hoejer
Level 5

Join date: Feb 2006
Location:
Posts: 94

Doggcrapp definitely made an improvement to my small calves.

But biggest improvement is CT's "new" jumps everyday and prowler almost everyday. This has made a huuge improvement. Especially for the gastrocnemius. For calves I tend to see the heavy prowlerwork as being equivalent to being a really heavy person. You don't see a lot heavy people with tiny calves.

Last, learn to engage your calves when walking. Makes a difference.

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Tyler23
Level 5

Join date: Feb 2003
Location: Washington, USA
Posts: 690

Sarev0k, how much weight did you gain over this period? And were you in a different mode (bulk/cut/maintain) during the time you gained the .5"?

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Airtruth
Level 1

Join date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 4303

americaninsweden wrote:
Just to give the basketball players a little credit, Ray Allen has some nice calves.

http://www.celticstown.com/...les-500x300.jpg


Ray Allen is if not the most, one of the most well conditioned athletes in the NBA. It would be unfair to think NBA players have nice calves just because of him.

But some of his exercises can really help. Like someone else mentioned hill sprints, if it's a really steep hill then walking can be even better. Even walking up the steepest hill with weights while focusing on the stretch and the flex, will really build your calves. Just be careful, it's very easy to overdo.

Those are the best, but if you just have to force yourself to stay in the gym, then before your calf raises, do single leg exercises on foam. You know the one everyone laughs at people for standing on. It really stresses the various muscles surrounding the ankles.

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Dorian12345
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Join date: Feb 2012
Location:
Posts: 35

llostintheworld wrote:
I never seen a basketball player with small calves .

then u never seen any basketballer,i rarely see a bballer with good calves,only NBAs elite but thats like 0.01% of players.

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eremesu
Level 2

Join date: May 2007
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 582

i cant imagine how high the volume and frequency will have to be to get great calves w/o isolation. unless you are training for a sport, i dont think you will keep it up. i do farmers walks and sled drags and box jumps and i dont feel it in my calves.
what feels good for the calves is extending a set past failure on calf raises, maybe finish with a ten second hold in the stretched position, and calf raises done on a board, not a calf block so there is no stretch

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Ct. Rockula
Level 2

Join date: Oct 2008
Location:
Posts: 17144

The Mighty Stu wrote:
While I get a lot of comments on my calves now, they didn't really come into their own until about 5-6 years ago. Some people view this as a success, but to me, it also means that I spent 13 years being unable to figure out what to do in order to get those bastids growin'!

What I did (in case any of this sounds applicable):
-Split my gastroc and soleus into 2 seperate workouts
-Started using straight leg calf machines or leg sleds as I was always limited by the standing calf machine because it felt awkward and crushed my traps once I piled a lotta weight on
-Focused on the different fiber types of the two different muscle groups, low rep for gastroc, high rep for solei
-Did the higher rep work after legs as I knew I'd already be tired, but did the low rep (heavy weight) work after upper body (chest) so there would be no reason for not absolutely killing it

-Looked for any opportunity to stretch my calves, usually while walking my dog, if we stopped for some serious sniffing, I'd stand on the curb and stretch the entire time until we moved on.
-No bouncing, I don't care how much weight you think you're moving and how it will overload your muscles.
-Slow negatives, Explosive positives and a damn hard squeeze at the top or every rep
-Even with the low rep/heavy weight work, I'd always do a drop (usually a 5x time) for my last set to really push some blood in there and stretch everything out (not sure if I fully buy inot FST7 training, but an ocassional pump set does have its place in my book)

Certainly not the ultimate article on calf training, but maybe a tip or two may strike a chord the next time you're pounding away.

S



Weel fine Stuart

I'm just gonna take my FST7ing ass into my bathroom and cry in the tub while I listen to Garbage

You happy now?

Haha

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Sarev0k
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2009
Location:
Posts: 1164

Tyler23 wrote:
Sarev0k, how much weight did you gain over this period? And were you in a different mode (bulk/cut/maintain) during the time you gained the .5"?


Bulk Bulk Bulk. I never expected to grow my calves on a caloric deficit. the highest i got my calves was 16.5 and i was 252 lbs @ like 17 % bodyfat AKA a fatty powerlifter.

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The Mighty Stu
Level 5

Join date: Oct 2002
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 9758

Ct. Rockula wrote:
Weel fine Stuart

I'm just gonna take my FST7ing ass into my bathroom and cry in the tub while I listen to Garbage

You happy now?

Haha


I'll be happy when I can eat again after my contest -lol. Seriously, I understand the theory behind FST7, it's essentially a the same rationale as ye ol' pump sets that have been around forever. Hany Rambod just made it a gimmick, and was smart enough to have Jay and Phil praise it. Nothing wrong with being clever :)

S

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winston43
Level

Join date: May 2008
Location:
Posts: 122

well coach Charles Poliquin has good ideas for calves . you should train dorsiflexion too with a machine . . maybe running in the mountains is good the downhill part . . because calves react to negative work much.

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mat_angus
Level 3

Join date: Dec 2010
Location: France
Posts: 259

As I said I've trained calves 3-4 times/week for 3 months, and am still training them heavyly 1-2 times/week.

3 days ago, I went running for 25 minutes (and for the fist time of my life ;-)

Today, DOM is still incredible in my calves !!!


Mathieu

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