"Big Calves: Building Big, Big
Calves without High-rep Sets!"
"Carbohydrates & Performance"
BUILDING BIG, BIG
CALVES WITHOUT HIGH-REP SETS!
big calves with only 10 sets of 20 repetitions every other
day". Just imagine the amount of time required for
that program! Unfortunately many calf-training articles
preach ridiculously high-repetition sets and training frequencies
in comparison to routines for most other muscles. Granted,
the calves are a difficult muscle group to increase in muscle
mass, BUT/ there is no evidence to support the notion that
the muscles respond better to high-repetition and light
some people completely neglect the calves in their training
routines. Obviously this is not the way to go either. The
calves are a very large and strong muscle group and are
important in bodybuilding and many athletic events. If you
improve your calf strength you will be stronger in other
standing leg exercises such as the lunge, squat, and step-up.
Furthermore, the large muscle mass of this muscle group
makes it essential to include in any metabolic-weightlifting
programs designed to increase the metabolism and reduce
body fat. Everyone in the gym will benefit by giving the
calves some work!
calf area is composed of two muscles, the underlying soleus
and the prominent gastrocnemius (it is the gastrocnemius
that most people traditionally identify as the "calf"
muscle). Muscle biopsies of these muscles reveal both to
be generally higher in T-I or "slow-twitch" (ST)
muscle fibers. The gastrocnemius averages ~60% ST fibers
and the soleus ~75% ST fibers in comparison to the 50% ST
fiber composition of the vastus lateralis (quadriceps) or
30-40% ST composition in the triceps brachii.
differences in NO way support calf-training programs to
require the extreme workout prescriptions presently recommended
by other trainers. Fast-twitch fibers have repeatedly been
shown to have a greater potential to hypertrophy (get bigger)
and the best way to recruit the FT fibers is with a high-intensity
load. As well, the gastrocnemius can hardly be considered
a slow-twitch muscle as only about 60% of its fibers are
ST and in elite sprinters the ST proportion may be as low
training, like strength training and bodybuilding for any
other muscle group, requires the correct application of
basic strength training principles in order to add muscle
mass to the area. The basic function of the "calf"
is to plantar flex the ankle (raise the heels off the ground
and support the body weight on the balls of the feet), so
we simply must overload it in this position.
is the most important concept: you must demand more of your
muscles than they are regularly accustomed to and in response
the muscle will adapt by growing and becoming stronger.
problem is that most athletes and bodybuilders forget the
overload principle and end up failing in their calf training
attempts by continuing to train with countless repetitions
and an intensity that is too low. Remember that muscle growth
occurs in response to the intensity of the stimulus imposed.
More specifically, the muscle grows in response to lifting
a heavy load for a sufficient number of repetitions. I therefore
suggest the number of repetitions be reduced and the magnitude
of the weight increased. The muscle fibers are not going
to respond and grow if the load is too light!
far as calf-training exercises go, don't concentrate on
the seated calf raise. This does not provide the optimal
stimulus for the gastrocnemius, but rather for the smaller,
deeper soleus muscle. You want your calf exercises to require
plantar flexion with only a slight bend at the knee joint.
This will ensure the optimal recruitment of the larger and
more prominent gastrocnemius.
take a look at a "high-intensity, moderate-volume"
training program...You will be sore for a couple of days
after this workout, BUT/ more importantly, your calf muscles
will be stimulated for growth not endurance!
hold DB in hand and support yourself with other hand
perform on platform and allow heal to drop as far as possible
do 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions for each leg with no rest between
place only the balls of the feet on the bottom end of the
leg press platform
contract the calf muscles to plantar flex the ankle
do a set using a weight that allows 10 repetitions, then
quickly remove 20% of the weight and perform another set
to failure (X), then quickly remove 10% percent of that
weight and perform the third "drop-set" to failure
rest 1-2 minutes
repeat for a second "drop-set"
use either a standing OR angled calf-raise machine (OR continue
to use the leg press)
set the pin at weight that can be comfortably lifted with
perform the concentric phase with both legs (plantar flex
the ankles), BUT/ use only one leg to lower the weight to
the starting position
alternate between legs and perform 6 eccentric reps for
quickly reduce the weight by 10% and perform 6 more eccentric
reps for each side
continue for a third set if desired (yeah right!)
NOTES ON CARBOHYDRATES
Current evidence still supports that most endurance athletes
should consume > 60 % of daily energy intake from carbohydrate.
Endurance athletes should try to eat 2-4 hours prior to
exercise (high carbohydrate snack and lots of water). Consuming
a sports drink (6-8% sugar solution) may improve performance
in prolonged exercise and this drink should also be ingested
at 150 - 250 ml every 15 min during exercise (including
most team sports such as soccer and basketball).
Consuming a sport supplement is best because
it contains the proper sugar concentration, low levels of
fructose, and low levels of potassium. Fructose may upset
the stomach and excess potassium can impair muscle contraction.
After exercise, athletes should consume carbohydrate (1-2
g/kg) as soon as possible and get plenty of fluids. Again,
the sport drink is effective and convenient for some carbohydrate
and fluid replenishment in addition to other foods (protein
and fat are necessary for recovery as well).
CB ATHLETIC CONSULTING