Unnaturally small calves/ankles

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    Unnaturally small calves/ankles (Pictures)


    Hello,
    I am looking for some high level guidance as to what I can do for my extremely small calves and possibly ankles. I am 36, 5'11", 220lbs. I have been lifting for years with a focus on basic compound movements. I can provide measurements if requested, but my calves are so small and disproportionate to the rest of my body it's almost comical. I have researched and tried many programs dedicated to calf, shin, and ankle training with little to no hypertrophy. I seriously have come to the point of looking at possibly getting calf implants. It's definitely taken a toll on me psychologically; I never wear shorts and limit myself to social interactions where shorts are not mandatory.
    Any help would be welcomed.
    Thank you!

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    Sounds like you might actually benefit from implants. Another option, albeit uncomfortable and perhaps dangerous, is PGF2A.

    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    Hello,
    I am looking for some high level guidance as to what I can do for my extremely small calves and possibly ankles. I am 36, 5'11", 220lbs. I have been lifting for years with a focus on basic compound movements. I can provide measurements if requested, but my calves are so small and disproportionate to the rest of my body it's almost comical. I have researched and tried many programs dedicated to calf, shin, and ankle training with little to no hypertrophy. I seriously have come to the point of looking at possibly getting calf implants. It's definitely taken a toll on me psychologically; I never wear shorts and limit myself to social interactions where shorts are not mandatory.
    Any help would be welcomed.
    Thank you!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere3 View Post
    Sounds like you might actually benefit from implants. Another option, albeit uncomfortable and perhaps dangerous, is PGF2A.
    Implants.... O rly?
    •   
       

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    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    It's definitely taken a toll on me psychologically; I never wear shorts and limit myself to social interactions where shorts are not mandatory.
    Any help would be welcomed.
    Well, I think I can relate, (maybe lots of us can, in fact) from a standpoint of never really being satisfied with what I was given or not given.
    It has taken me some inner work, but I have gotten to certain points, where I do not let, what I might feel my shortcomings are, to effect me. Or give too much power, to what I might think others are thinking about me. ie: Try not to be so handcuffed on what others think of you and just be the best, YOU can be.
    IMO, most people don't really care, or they care about themselves, actually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EatMoar View Post
    Implants.... O rly?
    I think there's a stigma about body modification which is a little weird given that everything bodybuilders do is body modification. Implants and synthol get a bad rap because they're thotght of as an easy way out.

    This dude sounds like he's trained the sh!t out of his calves without any gains and it's affecting his life to the point where he won't wear shorts and avoids situations where he might have to. Some might say that's fine but IMO that's no way to live. Getting well done, tasteful implants isn't the worst idea ever. It's either that or live with it.

    I mentioned pgf2a which MAY work, but WILL definitely hurt like a f-ing b1tch (has to be injected directly into the muscle probably 2-3x in each side a day, 4-6 total injections daily) and be unpleasant during a probably at least two month cycle that may or may not even cause results depending on where the muscle attachments are. If they're high, there just might not be muscle fibers in the calf to make bigger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere3 View Post
    Sounds like you might actually benefit from implants. Another option, albeit uncomfortable and perhaps dangerous, is PGF2A.
    Thank you for your reply Mystere3. Im going to research PGF2A this morning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    Well, I think I can relate, (maybe lots of us can, in fact) from a standpoint of never really being satisfied with what I was given or not given.
    It has taken me some inner work, but I have gotten to certain points, where I do not let, what I might feel my shortcomings are, to effect me. Or give too much power, to what I might think others are thinking about me. ie: Try not to be so handcuffed on what others think of you and just be the best, YOU can be.
    IMO, most people don't really care, or they care about themselves, actually.

    I was sad I had no gloves, then met a man with no hands, who was quite happy
    Uggh, I hate what you wrote, but it's probably the best and most likely scenario. Thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    Uggh, I hate what you wrote, but it's probably the best and most likely scenario. Thank you.
    Well, I have been where you are in ways and just understand, maybe because of my age, (as the years force a certain amount of wisdom on you whether you like it or not Aldous Huxley ) but personally and for me thus far, my believed shortcomings, have been a damn good ride anyway.

    All the best dude
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    I would like to reiterate that while it's possible this compound could help you, it's not a guarantee, but it is guaranteed to be an unpleasant and potentially dangerous process. I'm not recommending it by any means, simply suggesting it as a possible option. Definitely research this carefully before pulling the trigger.

    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    Thank you for your reply Mystere3. Im going to research PGF2A this morning.
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    Are there not any other extra-natural aids that might be less invasive than implants and less dangerous and painful than PGF2A?
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    Have you tried blood flow restriction methods similar to the kiatsu method?
    Maybe slip an elbow sleeve over your calf then roll it so it is like a band below your knee than do your calf routine. Also try static contractile training if you have not already done so
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrd1 View Post
    Have you tried blood flow restriction methods similar to the kiatsu method?
    Maybe slip an elbow sleeve over your calf then roll it so it is like a band below your knee than do your calf routine. Also try static contractile training if you have not already done so
    sounds like occlusion training
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    I think the OP probably has high calf insertions meaning he has few muscle fibers and no amount of training will make them better; even pgf2a won't help in that case. In that situation the options are really surgery and dealing with it. Large only other ip too is synthol which would be stupid and doesn't really work in the calves in addition to being dangerous. Honestly implants are the best option if the op decides he can't live with the situation.
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    Thank you all for these replies and suggestions. It is wonderful to have a place where people actually understand concerns such as these.
    I never really understood what high insertion calf meant, so I am posting pictures with measurements to get some feedback. Be advised Im a little leery on the tape measuring device as it starts at 2"....unless that's common.
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    Here's is the measuring tape and oddly it starts are 2" so I feel confident saying that the measurement showing around my calf is too large.
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    Honestly your calves don't look "comical". It looks like you have small bones (as do I), which makes me guess that you are overweight at 5-11, 220#. Do you know your BF%? Is it possible that dropping the extra fat will make your body composition look "less comical"?

    What is your current workout routine? By compound movements, are you saying that you incorporate regular squat and deadlift sessions? What is your quadricep measurement? Do your quads match your calves in definition?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Est1969 View Post
    Honestly your calves don't look "comical". It looks like you have small bones (as do I), which makes me guess that you are overweight at 5-11, 220#. Do you know your BF%? Is it possible that dropping the extra fat will make your body composition look "less comical"?

    What is your current workout routine? By compound movements, are you saying that you incorporate regular squat and deadlift sessions? What is your quadricep measurement? Do your quads match your calves in definition?

    Thank you for your input!
    I do not have a body fat % but I can tell you I have a fairly large abdominal circumference. I am in no way an image of someone who is in good shape. With that said, I have been doing the Starting Strength protocol for the past few years. My legs have always been small/weak. Through this program, though, Ive managed to get my squat up from 135 lbs to 335 lbs. Nothing great but an accomplishment for me. My deadlift is a decent 435 lbs. With that said, my thighs measure in at 25". They will not grow as well, regardless of how strong I get.
    As embarrassing as this is, I will go ahead and put myself out there with some photos I took about a month ago. These were going to be personal before photos in an effort to lose some abdominal fat. Unfortunately, with the fat loss will come a decrease in my leg size.

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    I hope I have not gone off too far here. Just trying to provide as much info as I can.
    Again, thank you.
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    I can tell you from personal experience that you have hope. 13" calves (but probably closer to 14" since that tape could go up higher) is not "small". In college I could jump like a mad man but had 14.5" calves at the time. When I started training my calves twice a week, and never doing less than 15 reps per set (usually 20 or more), and switched light and heavy weights constantly they started to grow. One off my favorite things to do with weight manipulation is go from heavy to light weight, then light to heavy weight for multiple reps hitting fast and slow twitch hard. My calves now measure 16.5". Do you have an example of weights and rep schemes you've used?
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    I don't think your calves look disproportionately small. I think you should work on cutting to 12-15% bf (my guess is that you're around 20-24% now) and see how your calves look, and really hammer them with heavy weight. I'd hit them with seated calf raises with 200-250 lb and standing with at least 400 lb. You may also benefit from buying a weighted vest and trying to walk on your tiptoes as much as possible.

    Calves are a hard one; I'm genetically blessed with big calves (18.5") and only train them once every other week with 4 sets of 15 or so. I don't think 25" thighs are bad. Mine measure only 26.5" and I squat and dl a lot more.
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    Looks like a good amount of muscle there hiding underneath the fat (which I am going to put you at about 25%). If you have worked up to a 435 DL, then your legs are growing...you just cant see the growth. Before you consider anything drastic (molecules or surgery) your first focus should be getting yourself down to 12%. Tons of information on this board on how to get there. Do it slowly. Do it with consistency. Just do it!
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    First off, congrats on those strength gains JR. That is pretty dang good work getting those lifts especially, up there. Believe me I know they take some effort.
    I am also on board with the guys who think you might be overthinking your calves are all that small. I will confess I have small calves too and as I trained over the years, while they have not grown a whole lot, look perhaps okay to me, but nothing like Tom Platz's Hahaha...!

    It is funny, but I do think we as lifters, (at least I have at certain times) kinda go thur a such thing as "reverse anorexia" or a body image where we may think somethings are really small or not normal, when they are perfectly normal or even larger and other untrained people actually see us as quite fine.
    IMO, don't miss a good outing or event, or maybe a relationship, because you feel you can't or don't wanna wear shorts.
    Walk into the party knowing you can most likely out deadlift everyone there...! HAHAHAHA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainman33 View Post
    I can tell you from personal experience that you have hope. 13" calves (but probably closer to 14" since that tape could go up higher) is not "small". In college I could jump like a mad man but had 14.5" calves at the time. When I started training my calves twice a week, and never doing less than 15 reps per set (usually 20 or more), and switched light and heavy weights constantly they started to grow. One off my favorite things to do with weight manipulation is go from heavy to light weight, then light to heavy weight for multiple reps hitting fast and slow twitch hard. My calves now measure 16.5". Do you have an example of weights and rep schemes you've used?
    Hello.... I do not have an example of a routine at this time as Ive tried quite a few. To be honest, I would love to hear what sort of protocol worked for you! It sounds as though you were in a similar situation.
    Thank you
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere3 View Post
    I don't think your calves look disproportionately small. I think you should work on cutting to 12-15% bf (my guess is that you're around 20-24% now) and see how your calves look, and really hammer them with heavy weight. I'd hit them with seated calf raises with 200-250 lb and standing with at least 400 lb. You may also benefit from buying a weighted vest and trying to walk on your tiptoes as much as possible.

    Calves are a hard one; I'm genetically blessed with big calves (18.5") and only train them once every other week with 4 sets of 15 or so. I don't think 25" thighs are bad. Mine measure only 26.5" and I squat and dl a lot more.
    To be honest, I never really tried pushing that level of weight around when it came to calves. I will have to give it a go. As you alluded to, it could be that my upper body is much heavier (read fat) than my lower and may give the appearance of smaller calves/legs than they really are.
    As for quad measurement, maybe Im measuring in the wrong spot. Where should I place the tape when measuring quads?
    Thank you for your input!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Est1969 View Post
    Looks like a good amount of muscle there hiding underneath the fat (which I am going to put you at about 25%). If you have worked up to a 435 DL, then your legs are growing...you just cant see the growth. Before you consider anything drastic (molecules or surgery) your first focus should be getting yourself down to 12%. Tons of information on this board on how to get there. Do it slowly. Do it with consistency. Just do it!
    So you're thinking a good bit of fat loss will help get things into proportion? I will look around board for proper fat loss. Ive been working on eating and trying to get stronger for so many years now that losing fat wasn't ever really a priority.
    All in all, Im walking away from this thread feeling much better about the "situation". Many thanks to you and everyone else here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulBlack View Post
    First off, congrats on those strength gains JR. That is pretty dang good work getting those lifts especially, up there. Believe me I know they take some effort.
    I am also on board with the guys who think you might be overthinking your calves are all that small. I will confess I have small calves too and as I trained over the years, while they have not grown a whole lot, look perhaps okay to me, but nothing like Tom Platz's Hahaha...!

    It is funny, but I do think we as lifters, (at least I have at certain times) kinda go thur a such thing as "reverse anorexia" or a body image where we may think somethings are really small or not normal, when they are perfectly normal or even larger and other untrained people actually see us as quite fine.
    IMO, don't miss a good outing or event, or maybe a relationship, because you feel you can't or don't wanna wear shorts.
    Walk into the party knowing you can most likely out deadlift everyone there...! HAHAHAHA
    You hit the nail on the head here sir. And I replied to your PM.
    I love the Tom Platz reference!!
    Thank you sir.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjbruno View Post

    sounds like occlusion training
    Exactly. Terminology can get mixed up easily.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrd1 View Post
    Have you tried blood flow restriction methods similar to the kiatsu method?
    Maybe slip an elbow sleeve over your calf then roll it so it is like a band below your knee than do your calf routine. Also try static contractile training if you have not already done so
    Would you mind telling me a little more about this? Im visualizing a compression sock.
    Thank you
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    Yeah see where you stand after losing some fat. I think weighted vest training is very helpful for fat loss and can also help your calves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    Would you mind telling me a little more about this? Im visualizing a compression sock.
    Thank you
    Here's a few videos explaining and demonstrating occlusion training.

    John Meadows
    http://youtu.be/0YVfbb5iEVI

    Marc Lobliner
    http://youtu.be/WdZ6EAs6QxU

    Layne Norton
    http://youtu.be/CpKn8Hav5eM
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    So I did calves today, I figure I'd share the workout:

    Leg press plus calf raise with 900 lb 3 sets of 15

    Standing calf raise 3 x 15 with 400 lb

    Seated calf raise 3 x 15 with 270 lb

    For calf raises I vary foot position. The best video I saw demonstrating this is one kai greene made recently:

    Train with Kai (Part 1) | FLEX Online

    Train with Kai (Part 2) | FLEX Online
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    You people are nuts if you think those calves and legs are small.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vkg1 View Post
    You people are nuts if you think those calves and legs are small.
    We'll just assume you haven't read through the whole thread yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post

    Would you mind telling me a little more about this? Im visualizing a compression sock.
    Thank you
    Check out the videos on breezy's post.

    It's not a large area compression you want, but restricting the blood flow out of the muscle. Consider having blood drawn for lab work, surgical tubing is tied ABOVE where the blood is drawn from. You want a band of stretchy-ish material just above the muscle being worked. In this case your calves. When I get home from work I will post pics.

    EDIT: I am really bad at taking pictures of myself. Your better off watching the videos posted by breezy. Marc Lobliner's is spot on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by breezy11 View Post
    Here's a few videos explaining and demonstrating occlusion training.

    John Meadows
    http://youtu.be/0YVfbb5iEVI

    Marc Lobliner
    http://youtu.be/WdZ6EAs6QxU

    Layne Norton
    http://youtu.be/CpKn8Hav5eM
    Oh man, this is definitely something new Ive never tried. So, in the second linked video, the narrator mentions that this method could possibly have some risks associated with it. Do you find this valid?
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrd1 View Post
    Check out the videos on breezy's post.

    It's not a large area compression you want, but restricting the blood flow out of the muscle. Consider having blood drawn for lab work, surgical tubing is tied ABOVE where the blood is drawn from. You want a band of stretchy-ish material just above the muscle being worked. In this case your calves. When I get home from work I will post pics.

    EDIT: I am really bad at taking pictures of myself. Your better off watching the videos posted by breezy. Marc Lobliner's is spot on.
    Im ready to give this a go! I may also try it with bis/tris
  36. New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere3 View Post
    So I did calves today, I figure I'd share the workout:

    Leg press plus calf raise with 900 lb 3 sets of 15

    Standing calf raise 3 x 15 with 400 lb

    Seated calf raise 3 x 15 with 270 lb

    For calf raises I vary foot position. The best video I saw demonstrating this is one kai greene made recently:

    Train with Kai (Part 1) | FLEX Online

    Train with Kai (Part 2) | FLEX Online
    That's a massive amount of weight you're throwing around. It could be that I just have not pushed myself into the realm of heavy calf weight yet.
    Thank you for the video links!
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    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    Oh man, this is definitely something new Ive never tried. So, in the second linked video, the narrator mentions that this method could possibly have some risks associated with it. Do you find this valid?
    2 cents...
    Personally, stuff like that, or that restricting, sounds dangerous to me and goes against the nature of how muscles or the body function and are supposed to work being supplied with proper flow. I might tend to think the risks would far outweigh the rewards or actually any great gains compared to regular hard training.
    Are people really showing that great of gains from this outside what they could normally gain from reg training?
  38. Professional Member
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    If you watch the vid, kai says he once had weak calves and does 4 exercises (times 4 sets times 20 reps) at the beginning of each leg day. The key to arm and leg hypertrophy is tons of sets with tons of reps.

    Quote Originally Posted by JReinhal View Post
    That's a massive amount of weight you're throwing around. It could be that I just have not pushed myself into the realm of heavy calf weight yet.
    Thank you for the video links!
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    This^^^
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere3 View Post
    If you watch the vid, kai says he once had weak calves and does 4 exercises (times 4 sets times 20 reps) at the beginning of each leg day. The key to arm and leg hypertrophy is tons of sets with tons of reps.
    Hmmmmmm I don't think that is for everyone . For me my legs don't grow as well unless I slam them with heavy squats. My calves dust start growing until I did static holds.

    But my arms do better with lighter weight for obvious reasons.
  

  
 

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