Grow, calves, grow!

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    Dec 21, 2007 4:01 PM GMT
    I've been trying to build my calves for over a month, but it's been really hard and I've seen almost no results; could someone please enlighten me with approaches which work seem to work?
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    Dec 21, 2007 4:45 PM GMT
    Calves are a little differently wired than other muscles. You need to go heavy and more reps. I've been toying around with different ways to train my calves, and I've found that, for me, 4 sets of 10 reps is good, going heavy and hitting all three heads.
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    Dec 21, 2007 5:13 PM GMT
    I've had success catching my bird legs up to the rest of my body (they are now the beefiest part) by doing compound exercises on the legs (like squats and presses) and then ending the workout with high rep (25 rep) excercises that target the calves only. I usually do four sets and work them at a weight that has them totally exhausted and pumped by the end.
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    Dec 21, 2007 5:23 PM GMT
    Pump em up
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    Dec 21, 2007 6:12 PM GMT
    I was reading up on this a few months ago. ChicGymGeek got. More weight and more reps. Though the information I read recommended doing 4 sets of 20,20,15,15 reps.
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    Dec 21, 2007 6:22 PM GMT
    Number of reps you can handle is going to be different from person to person. Too many reps at the weight I'm using tightens up my calves to the point that it's uncomfortable to walk around. I've stressed some muscles in the past and I just like to be careful.
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    Dec 21, 2007 6:30 PM GMT
    Here are a few exercises:
    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/exercises.php?MainMuscle=Calves

    Personally, I only do calf work about 2-3mos out of the year. The rest of the months I'm on the bike and they just ... happen.
  • SoDakGuy

    Posts: 1862

    Dec 21, 2007 8:05 PM GMT
    I barely work mine out and they get huge FAST!!!

    Well, so do my quads and hamstrings ...

    Just try your best to work them out.

    That's all I can say. icon_smile.gif
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    Dec 23, 2007 10:16 PM GMT
    I've been trying some new things with my calves the last 3 months and I can really see a change. First off, my calves are genetically cursed icon_lol.gif. Second, you must understand that calves, even small ones, can handle a lot of work because actually you use (exercise) them all day, whenever you are walking. If you have small calves, you may not turn them into huge ones, but they will grow.

    I do calves at least 2 times per week - a minimum of 3 days apart, though if you can, I think 4 days is more optimal. Guys with big natural calves don't need such frequency but it will surely help them. My gym has limited calf machines, so I keep it simple. At least once a week, but twice if I have time, I do standing and seated calves, in that order.

    Standing calf raises (or you could do donkey calf raises if you have the machine or toe presses on an incline leg press): I do these twice a week. I do them one leg at a time to really focus the effort and avoid one leg carrying the other. I do about 15 - 20 reps per leg, depending on the weight, for 3 or 4 sets. I start with a moderate weight, say 20kg and do 2 sets at the starting weight and 2 sets at a higher weight OR, for variety, I make each set 5kg heavier, which means the heaviest sets have less reps (about 15). The gastrocnemus has an inner and outer head, so I usually do set 1 with toe out (one leg at time), set 2 with toe in, sets 3 & 4 same as 1 & 2. For good measure I do one last set with both legs simultaneously with a weight that is moderately heavy for both my legs, like 70kg - 90kg. When doing one leg a time, it is very difficult to balance on just one leg, so I use the other foot for a very very light support, making sure it is not carrying the load I am trying to lift.

    Seated calf raises: I do these after the standing calf raises. I do them at least once a week. I do 1 light warm up for 12 reps. Then I do 3 more sets, progressively heavier. I generally keep my feet in a straigh ahead neutral position. The soleus does not have two sides like the gastrocnemus does.

    Pay attention to form. You can go up fast, but come down slow. At the top, hold for a beat before lowering the weight. At the bottom, let your heels stretch down as far as possible and hold for a beat or even two before going back up.

    Good luck.
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    Dec 24, 2007 3:13 PM GMT
    Wonders of Wonders! I developed calves over the last 2 months doing balancing exercises. Just progressively going from standing on one foot on the floor moving up to various balancing exercises on one of those semi-balls that they have at the gym.
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    Dec 24, 2007 3:42 PM GMT
    One novel approach that many people swear by is to do 100 reps. Pick the heaviest weight you can handle within reason and do as many as you can. Stop and rest a bit, then resume. Continue until you've done 100. It might look like this: 50 reps, followed by 30, followed by 10, then 10.

    Three times a week is fine. If you can't add weight, increase the volume each workout. Alternate standing and sitting.
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    Jan 04, 2008 2:28 PM GMT
    obscenewish saidOne novel approach that many people swear by is to do 100 reps. Pick the heaviest weight you can handle within reason and do as many as you can. Stop and rest a bit, then resume. Continue until you've done 100. It might look like this: 50 reps, followed by 30, followed by 10, then 10.

    Three times a week is fine. If you can't add weight, increase the volume each workout. Alternate standing and sitting.


    I have to second this. Alternatively, you can train them everyday 4 sets of 12-15 pretty reasonably heavy.

    Don't listen to the muscle mags, they're clueless. Ultimately you will have to try different things and one of them will work. Give each method at least 4 weeks.

    Calves are just like any other body part -- don't believe the myths.

    The only thing that might hold you back is your genes and well we all suffer from some pesky jeans -- well except for those perfect people we love to hate. LOL
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    Jan 07, 2008 11:06 AM GMT
    Since the calves are a smaller muscle group you can hit them more frequently. You need to make sure youre getting enough rest, water and good clean food, to grow. As soon as you feel they are not sore, hit them again. Try varying exercise...use machines, use free weights... work to failure! Then you'll see those big boys grow!
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    Feb 03, 2008 9:26 PM GMT
    Visualization and Walking...

    I'm always getting good feedback about my legs and calves, which is funny because I've never worked out much previous to the last few months.

    I'm telling you this because I have a theory.

    For years when I was a teen, I was very conscious about my posture and how my feet hit the pavement when walking. The posture part has taken longer, BUT because of childhood 'pigeon toes', I was always very careful to deliberately walk straight, hitting the ground heal-first, extra conscious of my weight distribution and how if 'felt' to walk right. Because of my success with this, I've also always visualized my legs as very powerful (I would echo the person above who brought up visualization as a very important key to successfully transforming yourself!)

    Now I know it sounds like work (ha!), but I'm completely convinced that my calves are the way they are because I was so conscious about walking 'correctly'.

    I believe the answer could be how you're walking/ carrying yourself - since many of us are on our feet a lot, ideally we can use this time more beneficially. I echo Caslon's post above about balancing - since it seems as if I was learning a new kind of balance.

    Anyhow - I would check how you're walking, and see if you cant make some conscious adjustments, feeling more connected to the ground, distributing your weight more evenly - maybe even checking your arches to see if you may need a different kind of shoe. I think that with practice, your new'walk' could naturally create the, how do you say, more shapely calves you want icon_smile.gif...

    peace
    jade
  • Hunkymonkey

    Posts: 215

    Feb 10, 2008 11:35 AM GMT
    Here is an interesting 8 week calf program. 2x daily!

    http://www.t-nation.com/article/most_recent/the_8week_calf_blitzkrieg?s=email
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    Apr 27, 2008 9:32 PM GMT
    obscenewish saidOne novel approach that many people swear by is to do 100 reps. Pick the heaviest weight you can handle within reason and do as many as you can. Stop and rest a bit, then resume. Continue until you've done 100. It might look like this: 50 reps, followed by 30, followed by 10, then 10.

    Three times a week is fine. If you can't add weight, increase the volume each workout. Alternate standing and sitting.


    Plus you look like a hoss when you're on the leg press machine doing 600 pound calf raises. :p
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    Apr 28, 2008 11:13 PM GMT
    obscenewish saidOne novel approach that many people swear by is to do 100 reps. Pick the heaviest weight you can handle within reason and do as many as you can. Stop and rest a bit, then resume. Continue until you've done 100. It might look like this: 50 reps, followed by 30, followed by 10, then 10.

    Three times a week is fine. If you can't add weight, increase the volume each workout. Alternate standing and sitting.


    This works. Pay attention to the intervals between your sets. Time yourself and try to keep the rest period fairly short (30-90 seconds). Play around with the number of reps a bit but the general concept of reducing the count seems effective. I'm lucky in the calves dept, but when I do this sort of routine, it's tough to walk out of the gym.
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    Apr 28, 2008 11:22 PM GMT
    Even when One was a skinny little runt, as a child. One still has big calves. Now One also was to grow up on a farm. So One has always done lots of walking.

    It drives guys at my gym nuts. I have such great calves, and just about never work on them. Lucky if I did 6 times a year.

    So unable to help, as it is something, One has always had, great legs, with big calves. Oh got a good chest at a young age too. Must be genetic.

    Implants is always a choice.
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    Apr 28, 2008 11:26 PM GMT
    Run long, and you'll build calfs of steel...
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    May 01, 2008 1:40 PM GMT
    Since you're already using them all day, I think that you need to do a bit lighter weight with high repetition.
  • Tito88

    Posts: 14

    May 02, 2008 8:54 AM GMT
    If I may suggest something that works for me: Walking (or trudging icon_rolleyes.gif ) on a sandy beach does the legs good. No cheating on the wet sand, either!
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    Sep 29, 2008 2:32 AM GMT
    I find a sled 45° calf raise and/or a barbell standing leg calf raise to be the most 'helpful'...and of course good genes.
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    Nov 02, 2008 7:24 PM GMT
    run up many flights of stairs as fast as you can, skip some if you are able
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    May 29, 2009 5:26 PM GMT
    That's the one thing, that I actually see results on myself more quickly. My legs are much stronger than my arms. Maybe it's genetic or because I'm always climbing stairs (usually on my toes when I hurry). Toe raises (seated or standing) are also of great benefit.
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    May 29, 2009 5:48 PM GMT
    mike64 saidThat's the one thing, that I actually see results on myself more quickly. My legs are much stronger than my arms. Maybe it's genetic or because I'm always climbing stairs (usually on my toes when I hurry). Toe raises (seated or standing) are also of great benefit.


    Well, legs SHOULD be much stronger (and bigger) than your upper body. Your Glutes, Quads, and Calves are some of the biggest muscle groups in your body and you use them to do most everything.

    I must say I love doing drop sets for calves....

    I do 1-2 sets of just standing calf raises until you feel the pump in your calves...

    the last set or two... you do the same thing, but then when you've gone to failure, you immediately do the same exercise but with a lighter weight. Definitely feel the pump with that.