Calf Training 101 — Q&A (Part Three)
Q. Can anyone have big calves?
A. No. Toddlers, the elderly etc. cannot. We would also need to define ‘big calves’, what’s big to you may not be big to a pro bodybuilder. What I believe anyone can do, by consistently training their calves, is make their calves a lot bigger, stronger, and more muscular than they ever previously thought possible. Most people have never given their calves a fair ‘chance’ to grow, so they have no idea what the genetic potential of their calves is, and there’s only way to find out.
Q. What if the program doesn’t work?
A. If it doesn’t work for you the simple answer is don’t use it; it’s free, there’s low to zero risk of injury, and wont ‘disrupt’ your existing training routine. By disrupt I mean that you don’t need to plan and execute all your training around this calf routine, placing other exercises that may be high-priority to you, like the squat or bench press, in the ‘back seat’ until you’ve seen results with your calf training. If you find a better calf training routine, then by all means use it, and if you’d be so kind share it with is here in the comments section and I’ll quite happily recommend it above mine.
The longer answer is that if it doesn’t yield any results you are probably doing something wrong. This is easily done and I’ve made plenty of mistakes with my training over the years. The most likely mistake is sub-optimal technique. A good first step is reviewing the technique you should be using, and possibly reverting to a less demanding/ easier/ simpler exercise and work at doing more reps.
Q. I have an ankle/ knee/ lower back injury and I want better calves, is this for me?
A. You can at least use part of the routine, yes. The standing, single legged calf raise is recommended for many ankle injuries as an injury rehabilitation exercise. I remember it was recommended to me by the physiotherapist when I damaged my achilleas tendon years back. Helpfully, the standing, single legged calf raise, places no extra strain on the knee or the lower back, so you can go crazy. In fact, recovering from an injury and being restricted in the exercises you can do is often a great time to start building your calves because other aspects of your training will be restricted. For example, if you can’t squat because of lower back issues, whilst you’re rehabbing your lower back and chomping at the bit waiting to resume your leg training, why not utilise the opportunity to start building up your calves? You’d be surprised how far good form and consistent training will take them.
Q. How long until I see results?
A. You should see results after a couple of months. Depending on how much calf muscle you need to build to do justice to your physique, you may not get the results you want/ need for a year or so. However, don’t be discouraged, once you start getting results, this should motivate you to keep going. Once ‘proper’ calf training is embedded into your training routine all you have to do is train as normal and the results will take care of themselves.