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  • Training Experiment #2

    I've always had issues with my calves. I remember the first time I met Mike Matarazzo I was wanting to ask for calve training advice, and then I met his Dad. Mike's dad had bigger calves than Mike, and had never trained. Infact, he was in a wheelchair when I met him, and had been for several years. I bring this up because I have always felt I was on the other end of the genetic pool, but I've never given up on trying new things to build my calves. I've used Dante's DC Protocol and had some success and even did my coaches version of it with a little more success, but the beginning of this offseason I may have discovered something new, at least to me. Hell, most of this stuff has been done before, but I wanted to throw out this experiment in calve training.

    Here is how I came up with my current protocol. I started my new offseason training, and to my lament we didn't have any calf training, but only included heavy compound powerlifting movements. Well, after my first session I found that my calves were sore in a whole new way. I figured this was just a fluke, but this continued and with it a modest increase in size (1/4 inch more than last years offseason, but with vascularity, in other words it wasn't fat gain). Remember I have horrible genetics when it comes to calves and have had little progress and this change was over a short period of time. That is when I realized that it was the result of my push press sets. The explosive movement of the push press contracted my calves in a whole new way. So now this is what I'm doing:

    Calf workout #1
    *superset the following:
    "Push Press" Smith Machine Calves (Basically a 1/4 squat from the flat ground onto the big toe with a controlled negative) 5x15
    Leg Press Calves (controlled negative into full stretch with an explosive positive) 5x15

    Calf Workout #2

    *superset the following:
    "Push Press" Smith Machine Calves (same as before) 5x15
    Seated Calves (same cadence and range of motion as Leg press) 5x15
    Last edited by Doberman; 05-03-2011, 12:24 PM.
    1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
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  • #2
    Very cool, thanks for sharing Doberman...

    When you do these push presses, are you trying to contract hard at the top or "chasing the heavy negative"? As in, are you trying to get a lot of weight up (via 1/4 squat) so you can perform the negative with a weight that you couldn't get up via strict calf raise on the positive?
    Max Muscle
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    • #3
      Yes, I'm going heavier than normal, but just a little bit heavier, because I still want a hard contraction at the top. Too heavy at first and you may not get up high enough for a good contraction. I will try to increase the weight and experiment with different rep ranges as this goes on.
      1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
      2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
      2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
      2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
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      2015 Francois Classic 2nd Place

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      • #4
        Just did my second calf workout using this protocol. Wow! is all I can say. My calves have never had this much of a pump or feeling of being worked. They looked like road maps and felt like they were going to burst, as much or even more than doing a set of 50. Almost 3 hours later and they still feel pumped. As I said this is going to be interesting because I was getting some growth and soreness from just doing push presses, but now I'm concentrating on the calves. The key with this is to not go to heavy. I did that the first workout, but then I realized the stimulation is not just from using heavy weight, but is also from the speed of the contraction. You want it just a tad heavier than you might normally do on a full range of motion set of 15. You want to bed the knees just slightly into a 1/4 squat then explode up to the top of your big toe. Controling the decent is also important, but that fast contraction is key. The seated calves or donkey calves I'm doing are full range of motion and pump more blood into the muscle. This make your next super set so much fun. Anyone else trying this let me know how it goes. I can't wait to see what results this direct approach brings.
        1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
        2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
        2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
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        • #5
          2 things bro-

          any chance you can post up a vid so i can check the form?

          you should seeif you can find John Parillo's calf training protocol (might help)
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          • #6
            Yeah. I'm working on learning my new video camera and then I'm going to post a few different videos. Unfortunately I'm not the best when it comes to technology. As far as John goes, I've been around bodybuilding for about 22 years and was fortunate to meet John a couple of times backstage at shows where he was helping out. I wish I could have talked with him longer. The guy had a lot of interesting twists on training (Parrillo Shrugs, Sh** Squats, etc.) that I can't believe more people don't know about. I'm not familiar with his calve training in total, but I have done "SH**" Squats, and can say that they are right up there with stabbing yourself with a hot poker. I'd love to know more on how he set up his calve training. I'll definitely look for it.
            1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
            2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
            2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
            2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
            2014 Francois Classic 3rd place
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            • #7
              Here is the current regimen:

              Push Press Calves (5 second hold in contraction, 5 second negative) 2x10 with 2 rest pause sets
              Seated Calves 1x100 with 3-4 pauses of 3-6 deep breaths. Last time I did 54 reps, then 20, 20, and 20. The goal is to get 100 straight. Then I will add weight and do it again. I'm debating about adding a second set of these, but I want to see the improvements with this first.
              1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
              2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
              2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
              2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
              2014 Francois Classic 3rd place
              2015 Francois Classic 2nd Place

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              • #8
                Yea, Parillo had a huge influence that people outside of the tri state area forget about. Even all this FST stuff originated with his ideas back in the 90's. Anyway's, most people don't train calves hard (not just heavy, but smart and intense) enough. Blow'em D!
                Carlos Rodriguez
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                As iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Prov 27:17
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                • #9
                  Thanks Carlos, even if you think you know what you are doing it always helps to have a little validation.
                  1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
                  2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
                  2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
                  2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
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                  • #10
                    I've concluded this phase of training, but will return to this again come contest prep (16-20 weeks out). I have to say that this was one of the most effective routines I have ever done. As a kid I always read the articles from guys with great genetics in calve development. But, take it from a guy that couldn't see his calves unless he flexed (really hard) you have to go to a very unhappy painful place if you want respectable calves. I may not have Mike Mattarazo Calves, but I'm not feeling funny about shorts this summer. Here is what I experienced and recommend:

                    PUSH PRESS CALVE RAISE

                    1. Start out on the "Push Press" calves with a weight that you can do for 10-12 strict reps with no stretch at the bottom. The reasoning is that you want a weight that you can be explosive with, and one that you can hold for a five count and bring down for a five count. A weight that you can do 10-12 strict reps was a perfect place to start. If you go to heavy you will not get the contraction in you calves.

                    2. Remember this is an explosive positive rep with a partial squat. You want to get the weight up as fast as possible, then you want to hold for 5 seconds, and lower in 5. Calves serve multiple purposes and one is to stabilize you body. The 5 second hold and 5 second negative take this into consideration.

                    3. The key to this part of the workout is using a heavy weight, but for high reps. How do you do that? 2 rest pauses for 3-6 reps each. Again use the same rep cadence.

                    SEATED CALVES

                    1. I started with a weight that I could do 40 reps. These are quick full range of motion reps. When I failed at forty I would take a few deep breaths and continue again till failure. I did this until I got to 100 reps total.

                    2. Each workout I would try to get higher reps before I paused. I eventually I got to 100. When you get to 100 you have two options. You can increase the weight and start over again failing at 40 or you can do 2 separate sets of 50 reps to failure (the goal would be 50, but you might get 40 the first set and 30 the second the first time) and work you way up in weight maybe to return to the killer 100 at some point. You also might want to alternate each workout doing the "killer 100" and doing the 2 sets of 50. The point of going to 2 sets of 50 is two fold. 1st it will give you a mental break. Going to 100 is hard to get mentally prepared for every calve workout. You need to be in the mindset that when this hurts you put it on the shelf, then when it really hurts, you put that aside and get more reps than the last workout. There where times when I had tears coming out of my eyes this hurt so bad. Second you might be able to progress in weight quicker. Your not going to go up in weight on the killer 100's until you get 100 straight so the weight increases will not come as quick. So the two sets of 50 will give a different stimulation.


                    Good Luck I hope some of you try this. Let me know.
                    1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
                    2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
                    2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
                    2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
                    2014 Francois Classic 3rd place
                    2015 Francois Classic 2nd Place

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                    • #11
                      I forgot another variation on the first exercise is instead of the static hold of 5 seconds in the contracted position if you want to really kill these do 5 "pulse" reps instead. For these you do your normal explosion to full contraction, then let the weight down about an inch or less then squeeze back to full contraction. I'm sure other people do this, but I came up with the idea when I realized that even though I though I was at full contraction during the static hold I wasn't all the way contracted. Doing these insures that your killing the contraction.
                      1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
                      2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
                      2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
                      2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
                      2014 Francois Classic 3rd place
                      2015 Francois Classic 2nd Place

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                      • #12
                        Did you take before/after pics and measurements?
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                        • #13
                          I didn't take any pictures. I've been in somewhat of a bulking phase and didn't really think I'd see a difference. I'm kicking myself. The only problem with the pics is that I was coming off a contest and I thought that my calves would look better in the before pics due to being so lean. I think I made a mistake although they aren't as lean they look flexed when I'm not flexing them as opposed to the past when I had to squeeze them hard to show any muscle at all.

                          As far as measurements, like I said my calves are weak, they started out last offseason at 14.5, and I might have gotten this measurement after training them (I can't remember). Contest time they were about 14, but looked bigger due to being so lean. Now they are just shy of 15.5. Like I said I may never have crazy calves, but maybe they will be more respectable. I do want to say this though, I don't think there are any magic workouts, I just think for muscles like quads and calves, at times, you have to go to a very uncomfortable place to see extreme progress. This was just how I went to that place.

                          I'll throw some pics up when I can. I also am working on some training videos and a commercial for a unique piece of equipment that I use (The company is my sponsor.) I'll try to make sure I link the calf video to this thread.
                          1994 Ohio Gran Prix 4th place
                          2010 Kentucky State Championships 1st place
                          2011 Northern Kentucky 4th place
                          2012 Kentucky Grand Prix 1st place
                          2014 Francois Classic 3rd place
                          2015 Francois Classic 2nd Place

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                          Use Discount Code AMJ

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                          • #14
                            Very creative approach to calf work...I'll try this and see if it improves my suck-ass calves.

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                            • #15
                              Way to go Dave! Every muscle can be improved to some degree regardless of genetics. Real men work it not fill it with oil! LOL Keep it up!
                              Carlos Rodriguez
                              IFBB Pro League BBer
                              IFBB Pro League Judge
                              NPC National Judge
                              As iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Prov 27:17
                              www.facebook.com/PastorPump

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