The Answer to Calf Growth....
- 10-08-2008, 03:06 AM
The Answer to Calf Growth....
The Tibialis Anterior? (The muscle on the shin, that opposes the calf.)
We know that the central nervous system will inhibit agonist growth if a large imbalance is created between the agonist and the antagonist. I.E.-You can only get your biceps so big without training the triceps before the CNS stops growth in the biceps because it runs the danger of damage occuring from the imbalance casued by only training one of the pair of opposing muscles.
It would stand to reason, then, that you can only illicit so much growth from the calves before the CNS stops growth because we never trained the tibialis anterior to keep up. There's already a large imbalance to begin with, so making it larger is sure to cause inhinbition.
Ways to train the tibialis:
Heel Stands: Stand on your heels for as long as you can.
Heel Stands or Seated: Stand on your heels with a plate resting on top of your toes. Or do it seated.
There are a couple companies out there that make a plate loaded shoe type thing.
There's my hypothesis.The Truth is, there is no Truth.
- 10-08-2008, 03:23 AM
jeff long has 22's...and half of that is not in front of his shin. you kinda make since but in retrospect evolution has brought the body to a point where that muscle is inheritenly weak...we naturally want to conserve energy. i am not saying don't train it cause i do a few times a month, but is basically a stabilizer and only purpose to lift the foot and not really support the load of the rest of the body.
doing elliptical and treadmill backwards seem to get that muscle fired up too...
10-08-2008, 03:36 AM
The Truth is, there is no Truth.
10-08-2008, 03:57 AM
10-08-2008, 10:34 PM
10-08-2008, 10:57 PM
I've read many times that dorsiflexion (isn't that what it's called) can help promote calf growth, simply through maintaining that strength ratio. It's supposed to be equivalent to say your anterior and medial delt development being limited by weak posterior delts, or chest being limited by a weak back. In theory at least.
Definitely worth a try in any case.
10-08-2008, 11:01 PM
I've been doing this off and on for a while:
Sit on a bench so your toes are hanging off the end.
Place a 20-30lb weight between your feet.
Allow the weight to lower, then lift it back up by contracting the Tibialis Anterior
I've had people comment about it looking foolish, but it does help build that muscle.
"I am legally blind and if I can Squat,deadlift and over all get myself to the gym then anyone can get their a$$ in gear and get strong!!" - malleus25
10-09-2008, 12:27 AM
interesting theory but the tib anterior does not compare in size to the gastrocnemius... I dunno if it would have the effect your talkin about
but worth a try i guess, my calves are trash as well
10-09-2008, 12:42 AM
If you work out your tib ant too much you'll get compartment syndrome. I overgrew my tib ant from years of skiing and when compartment syndrome flares up it is EXTREMELY painful. Walking is not an option when it flares up for me.
10-10-2008, 09:19 AM
i have been training tib ant for awhile now, i do raises on a 45 plate. Heels on the plate and the toe touches the ground and then up as high as possible. I do this until just lifting the toes off the ground feels impossible. I have never done this training of tib ant with weights however. It gets crazy cuz it feels like you can just fall straight on your face when this muscle is completely fatigued. Its a good theory that it could be limiting overall calve growth but imo the most dominating force in calve growth is genetics. It has to be one of the most stubborn muscles to grow if genetics arent strong there. Im somewhat lucky.
10-10-2008, 11:31 AM
I think it could play a part. Personally, lately I've been happy with holding the bottom position and going for a stretch feeling, 1 second concentric, hold the top for about half a second, slow negative...then extreme weighted stretching afterward.
10-10-2008, 04:21 PM
I'm a big supporter of maximum muscle fiber stimulation. When I work any muscle group, I try to bring as many muscle fibers into play as possible, as to stimulate the muscle group as a hole, rather than missing areas. You might think you're hitting the entire muscle, but how many times have you switched up your routine to include a few new exercises that leave your muscles so sore the next day? This happens because you're utilizing muscle fibers you're body isn't used to using. Biceps for instance... Sure when you're doing barbell curls, you're stimulating the entire muscle, but you're not making every available fiber work as hard as possible.
So for working the calf muscles, it would make sense to work the muscle group from as many angles as possible, trying to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible. Also, training with maximum intensity is important too. At the top of the movement, contracting the calves as hard as possible for a moment, and at the bottom of the movement, stretching them as far as you can. I don't think people use as much weight as they should, either. Go for as much weight as you can lift while still maintaining full range of motion and maximum (quality) muscle contraction.
P.S. - My calves are a weak point as well, but I've found that since I've been training them from various angles, with maximum intensity, stretching and flexing them between sets, and giving them more attention than I used to, they have improved. I just think calves take longer to develop than other muscles, so training smart really makes a difference here.
10-10-2008, 05:10 PM
I have been doing 4x5 one-leg seated (bent-leg) DB calf raises, touching the calf muscle to be sure it's contracting hard, going leg-to-leg with no rest til it's done...that's at the very beginning of my leg workout...then after all other leg stuff 3x12 straight-leg calf presses in the leg press machine, again going for max contraction and slow eccentric and a hold at the top and bottom. Then after I'm done with that I do a minute weighted stretch in the leg press machine.
10-10-2008, 05:11 PM
BTW, the best thing I've seen for the tibialis anterior is backwards jogging, in sand if you can do it...you don't know what the tib ant is until you jog backwards for 5 minutes
10-10-2008, 05:27 PM
10-14-2008, 01:42 PM
One thing that has helped me is training the calves DC style. Here is what i do.
Seated calf raise. Get 10-12reps.
1)Raise the weight so that you are on your tip toes. Hold for 5s
2)Lower real slow, nearly taking 5-10s.
3)At the bottom, hold the stretch for 15s....repeat steps 1-3
After doing this for little over a month or so, my calves have grown and became very vascular. Maybe the hdrol had something to do with it, but not sure.
10-14-2008, 07:06 PM
msucurt, what I do is similar but without as much hold at the bottom. I do the "extreme stretching" afterward. I definitely think that method is a "big deal" when it comes to stubborn calves. Good post.
10-14-2008, 11:31 PM
I think it is imperative that you hold that stretch at the bottom for a minimum of 10s. No less. Really really concentrate when doing these. If u can do 10 easy, then u are doing them bad wrong. I can barely knock out a set of 12reps. Trust me, they hurt like no other if done right.
10-14-2008, 11:39 PM
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