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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:52 pm 
I currently do strictly compound moves and no isolation exercises. Im wondering what kind of calf growth you can expect just through deadlifting and squatting. Now im certainly not talking building calves to bodybuilding standards...just decently sized. As your quads and hamstrings grow, do your calves also naturally get bigger as well???


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:59 pm 
I wouldn't expect very much. I've seen some very big powerlifters with really little calves.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:02 pm 
Ok, in that case ill have to throw in some isolation work then cause mine are pretty small.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:12 pm 
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I'm not a trainer or exercise physiologist, but based on my own experiences, squats, deadlifts and other lower-body compound exercises spurred little if any calf growth. Extremities like calves, forearms and the neck often are neglected by full body, compound exercise routines.

Beside the usual isolation exercises, jumping rope and cycling with ankling have helped my calves. Having really good calves, though, is like having a pretty face - you either were born with them or you weren't. And I wasn't! ;-)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:18 pm 
I have really good genetics when it comes to calves. They've always been my best muscle (18" flexed), but I still work them pretty hard once a week, since I don't think it's really possible to overdevelop calves. I feel the same way about forearms.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:31 pm 
Stephen Johnson wrote:

Having really good calves, though, is like having a pretty face - you either were born with them or you weren't. And I wasn't! ;-)


Ive always had small calves. Then i have a friend whos never worked out in his life and has always had big ass calves...I mean this guy doesnt do anything physical at all. Oh well...I was given wide shoulders from genetics, guess it was a pretty good tradeoff.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:37 pm 
PS.) With calves it's important to get a full range of motion. To accoplish this you need to have something under the balls of your feet so you can get a deep stretch.

Also, there are two muscle groups in the lower leg, the gastrocs and the soleus, and I would recomend training both. Leg Press, Donkey and Standing Calf Raises are good for the gastrocs, while Seated Calf Raises are good for the soleus. If you don't have access to machines you can do free weight versions of both standing and seated calf raises with a block of wood (or something similar) under your toes.

You don't need a lot of sets for calves 4-6 sets of 2-3 exercises should be plenty. Meanwhile, I've always used high reps (15-20) for calves, but you can experiment with different rep ranges to see what works best for you.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 1:40 pm 
Don't get too discouraged. You can see noticable improvement even without great genetics. Ever see any early photos of Arnold, compared to shots from 74 and 75.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:02 pm 
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Matt Z wrote:
Don't get too discouraged. You can see noticable improvement even without great genetics. Ever see any early photos of Arnold, compared to shots from 74 and 75.


It hasn't been proven, but there has always been rumors about Arnold using calf implants. The official story is that Arnold trained wth his boyhood idol, Reg Park, and got religion about training calves. Park had phenominal calves.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:10 pm 
I'm inclined to doubt that, although a lot of more recent bodybuilders probably have gotten calf implants. Arnolds calves seem to have improved more gradually over years, not overnight. Plus I don't know how common calf implants were back in the 70s.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:12 pm 
Also, from what I know Arnold completely ignored calf training prior to his loss to Frank Zane.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:05 am 
Yeah I'll have to do the seated and standing without machines. I guess it shouldnt be too difficult, since my goal is just calves that dont look skinny.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:32 pm 
For standing calf raises you can stand on the one foot with a dumbbell in one hand and the other hand holding onto something for balance. Hold the dumbbell in your right hand while training your right leg and your left hand while working your left leg. That way you'll be training with twice bodyweight plus the weight of the dumbbell.

For seated calf raises sit on a bench, either with a dumbbell resting on one knee or with a barbell across both legs just above the knees.

In either case you'll want something under the balls of your feet. It can be a block of wood, a thick textbook, or anything similar as long as it allows you to get a good stretch in the target muscle.


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