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Let's Talk Calves

inoverdrive

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I train my calves 3 days weekly dc style supsersetted with banded tib raises. It’s the only combo that’s finally started putting real meat on my lower legs
Stupid question but what is or how do you banded tib raises
 

inoverdrive

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I had big calves when i was younger but they decided to peace out when i got into my 50's lol BUT it was all my fault. Didnt train them near enough!
 

danieltx

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I train my calves 3 days weekly dc style supsersetted with banded tib raises. It’s the only combo that’s finally started putting real meat on my lower legs
I can't emphasize this enough - if y'all aren't training your tibialis anterior, you're missing out on adding thickness to the lower leg.
 

heavyhitter

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I can't emphasize this enough - if y'all aren't training your tibialis anterior, you're missing out on adding thickness to the lower leg.
Couldn’t agree more. I picked this tip up from John meadows and since incorporating it I’ve put some really good meat on my walking sticks
 

heavyhitter

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Stupid question but what is or how do you banded tib raises
Wrap one end of a band around a stationary object down low to the floor. I use the bottom of whatever machine is next to the piece of calf equipment I’m using. Sit on the floor with the leg your training out in front of you and scoot back to get appropriate band tension. Loop the end of the band over your toes and start pumping away
I don’t use these physio bands though. I use monster minis from elitefts
 

maldorf

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Cycling builds the calves too. Especially if you go up hills using a gear that is too high.
 

heavyhitter

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I
Cycling builds the calves too. Especially if you go up hills using a gear that is too high.
do treadmill wake the way Dante describes that’s similar. Treadmill to max incline, lean over the front of the display board with arms over it, walk on tip toes on a pretty quick speed for 10-15 minutes. I do this at the end of leg day and it blows my calves up
 

Gunsmith

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Only use 135 lbs? How many reps are you doing? Like 50? Your's look great for training like that.
Actually depending what I did that day I generally get 15-20 reps per set , I days I'm on my feet or up and down stairs all day I wouldn't get as many.
I find that the very slow tempo is a way to stress the muscle in a way it never sees , our calves are actually incredibly strong for a couple reps and obviously they have great endurance being able to walk thousands and thousands of steps per day. So we either have to tax them with extremely heavy weight or extremely high reps. BUT , we rarely put very slow extended tension on them.
Now all that said , I've always had big calves since jr high , my mom and dad both had significant calves and neither were athletes
Give that tempo a try , the extreme stretch and contraction are pretty brutal
 

FrancisK

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I work calves hard twice a week and throw additional sets at them the other two lifting days, multiple angles, machines and methods. I also work my tibias.

I still have no calf’s


What else you guys got?
 

danieltx

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I work calves hard twice a week and throw additional sets at them the other two lifting days, multiple angles, machines and methods. I also work my tibias.

I still have no calf’s


What else you guys got?
Like anything in bodybuilding, if you really want to figure it out you have to try different stuff and take notes. Train them twice a week for a month. Train them every day for a month. Note your results and keep adjusting until you find what works. I tried everything over the years - twice a week, 2 on 1 off, every X days, etc. - until I found the right setup for me.

I think the angle stuff is overkill for 99% of guys; I've never pointed my feet to either side doing calves. I only use 2 calf presses - Free Motion or Hammer Strength / Life Fitness - and a seated calf raise, usually Hammer Strength. For reps on working sets, I like 8-10 for calves and 10-12 for tibialis.
 

Kaladryn

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Like anything in bodybuilding, if you really want to figure it out you have to try different stuff and take notes. Train them twice a week for a month. Train them every day for a month. Note your results and keep adjusting until you find what works. I tried everything over the years - twice a week, 2 on 1 off, every X days, etc. - until I found the right setup for me.

I think the angle stuff is overkill for 99% of guys; I've never pointed my feet to either side doing calves. I only use 2 calf presses - Free Motion or Hammer Strength / Life Fitness - and a seated calf raise, usually Hammer Strength. For reps on working sets, I like 8-10 for calves and 10-12 for tibialis.
Agreed on both points, but I think you need to stick with any given style for longer to really tell if it's working, closer to 6months to a year, calves are stubborn.

As for the angle stuff, I don't like it either, but what I DO like is making sure my ankles and heels stay in line so that I'm working both heads of the gastroc evenly.
 

USMuscle9403

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@danieltx is pulling yalls calves...

He got those calves as a result of increasing his body weight as part of his metamorphosis to become The Kraken

Had nothing to do with training...
 

Elvia1023

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I am in full agreement with everything Daniel and TOO55 posted (which is usually the same on most subjects). I am going to the gym so will keep this shorter (could write about calves for hours :eek:) but basically higher frequency, a variety of techniques, high intensity and time. Genetically my calves are terrible and I have had to force them to grow. Like every body part you have to find the best movements/execution and then just push the intensity over time. The amount of detail and little changes that has gone into my calf training is quite staggering over the years. I have been training them just on leg days recently but now it's time to increase the frequency again using a select few exercises/form and I think I can get another inch out of them :eek::D

Like any body part genetics is king but because calves are stubborn for many people plus the fact they don't train them hard enough (or even at all) many have really shit calves. You even see many guys with big quads and small calves. Now the guys I know with the best calves don't even train them or if they do it's a few sets of 8-12 reps at the end of leg training. Obviously you can force anything to grow with enough effort and time but we can't discount genetics for this one. I see a guy in my gym walking out with 4pps on the squat and for very deep and great execution reps and his legs are literally half the size of mine and my legs aren't impressive :eek::D Sometimes you have to think out side of the box with weak body parts. I have done some crazy heavy weight standard/drop sets before. The thing that has given me the most results recently has been the complete opposite... very light weight and very high reps. My calves improved in lockdown from simple standing light weight calf raises with no stretch (the same can be said for cardio on tiptoes etc). Nevertheless I also think like Daniel the deep stretch is key and I would recommend unilateral reps and even using your opposite leg to do some negative reps after failure.
 

heavyhitter

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I am in full agreement with everything Daniel and TOO55 posted (which is usually the same on most subjects). I am going to the gym so will keep this shorter (could write about calves for hours :eek:) but basically higher frequency, a variety of techniques, high intensity and time. Genetically my calves are terrible and I have had to force them to grow. Like every body part you have to find the best movements/execution and then just push the intensity over time. The amount of detail and little changes that has gone into my calf training is quite staggering over the years. I have been training them just on leg days recently but now it's time to increase the frequency again using a select few exercises/form and I think I can get another inch out of them :eek::D

Like any body part genetics is king but because calves are stubborn for many people plus the fact they don't train them hard enough (or even at all) many have really shit calves. You even see many guys with big quads and small calves. Now the guys I know with the best calves don't even train them or if they do it's a few sets of 8-12 reps at the end of leg training. Obviously you can force anything to grow with enough effort and time but we can't discount genetics for this one. I see a guy in my gym walking out with 4pps on the squat and for very deep and great execution reps and his legs are literally half the size of mine and my legs aren't impressive :eek::D Sometimes you have to think out side of the box with weak body parts. I have done some crazy heavy weight standard/drop sets before. The thing that has given me the most results recently has been the complete opposite... very light weight and very high reps. My calves improved in lockdown from simple standing light weight calf raises with no stretch (the same can be said for cardio on tiptoes etc). Nevertheless I also think like Daniel the deep stretch is key and I would recommend unilateral reps and even using your opposite leg to do some negative reps after failure.
I like lighter weight, higher reps, 10 second holds in the bottom with a slow negative and and explosive contraction
 

maldorf

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I am in full agreement with everything Daniel and TOO55 posted (which is usually the same on most subjects). I am going to the gym so will keep this shorter (could write about calves for hours :eek:) but basically higher frequency, a variety of techniques, high intensity and time. Genetically my calves are terrible and I have had to force them to grow. Like every body part you have to find the best movements/execution and then just push the intensity over time. The amount of detail and little changes that has gone into my calf training is quite staggering over the years. I have been training them just on leg days recently but now it's time to increase the frequency again using a select few exercises/form and I think I can get another inch out of them :eek::D

Like any body part genetics is king but because calves are stubborn for many people plus the fact they don't train them hard enough (or even at all) many have really shit calves. You even see many guys with big quads and small calves. Now the guys I know with the best calves don't even train them or if they do it's a few sets of 8-12 reps at the end of leg training. Obviously you can force anything to grow with enough effort and time but we can't discount genetics for this one. I see a guy in my gym walking out with 4pps on the squat and for very deep and great execution reps and his legs are literally half the size of mine and my legs aren't impressive :eek::D Sometimes you have to think out side of the box with weak body parts. I have done some crazy heavy weight standard/drop sets before. The thing that has given me the most results recently has been the complete opposite... very light weight and very high reps. My calves improved in lockdown from simple standing light weight calf raises with no stretch (the same can be said for cardio on tiptoes etc). Nevertheless I also think like Daniel the deep stretch is key and I would recommend unilateral reps and even using your opposite leg to do some negative reps after failure.
I used to do the unilateral calf raises and my foot would get torn up. Real sore the next day, and got to the point where I have to stop doing them. Soreness in the arch and on the side of the foot. Not sure what I was doing wrong.
 

N.L....M.....

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I'm a weirdo. I had calves about like that in high school when the rest of my body legged at 190. That wasn't bodybuilding, so it's kick ass at ball. Now the older that you get, your muscle fibers convert to smaller endurance fibers, and eventually everyone would get smaller less powerful legs. It's harder for old people to grow legs and some people at any age. At that point is the chemical enhancement towards hyperplasia of new strength bulk fibers.

All this information leads to an idea that calves may be an entirely different beast. Plyometrics are great for calves, a different sort of twitch. Your right it is about the stretch, tempo and intensity at certain points. I'm even working on a program which uses this approach as the "burn set" to finish off other body parts.
I don’t think plyos or explosive movements are good for building calves. I think it was Scott Stevenson who I heard talk about it. Look at basketball players or people who run they generally have very poor calf development. It brings on a different adaptation that hypertrophy.
 

headtrainer

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There’s no secret to training calves or any other body part for that matter. It comes down to—1) genetics, 2) training with intensity using good form, and 3) working that body part on a consistent basis.
 

Love_to_Bodybuild

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I broke my food skateboard ing at eighteen and my left calve won't stretch as well as my right so I have to adjust my calve training with different stretches on the way down

I've done up to 800 to 1000 lbs on standing calve, used to go super heavy and do forced negatives with spotter, untill I found out soleus is a small much and does nothing for the look of the calves

. Now I warmup on seated calves two sets light weights, then leg press calves, and another unique calve machine gym I go to has

Calves are decent genetically
 

Elvia1023

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I have just posted a thread on training in general and I mentioned something I was going to post in here. It's deep tissue massage and it's obviously good for all muscles. I want to mention it here because calves are one of the body parts many of us train very frequently. Many even train them every gym session hoping to improve. We also walk constantly so calves are one muscle that get hit all the time. It's part of the reason they can be so stubborn to grow. As a result they can get very tight so I recommend you get deep tissue done on them. Even if you just add the massages in and change nothing else it could really make a big difference to your actual growth in the long term. It will keep them loose and firing optimally so they should grow better over time.
 

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