Training Calves and Traps

Hey Josh,

First, I want to thank you for your log. Through it, you gave me a lot of ideas to try in my training.

But I do have a few questions:

  1. Why do you train calves? I mean, don’t you work them enough by deadlifting and squatting heavy ? I gained a lot of calf size while squatting and deadlifting with around half the weight you use.
  2. Why do you do 20+ reps on shrugs? Do you do that exercise just to “do something” for your traps, or is it the best thing for you to gain size in that area ?

Thanks,

Matt


Matt,

Response to #1:

I always had small calves growing up (thanks, Dad!), so I really started working calves. Squating heavy, deadlifting, etc. will help with calf strength/stability but not with overall size and shape like direct calf work will do. For example, I have two training partners who both have pro totals (one is 308 pounds and the other is 220 pounds), but both of them also have small calves. Again, they don’t need to do calf work for powerlifting, it just depends on how you want your calves to look. Just a personal choice.

Response to #2:

I used to do shrugs really heavy, trying to knock out 8-10 good heavy reps. I then figured out that all that did was beat my arms and shoulders up without much gain. So I started hitting high rep shrugs for sets until failure. I still get the trap work in, but without beating up my arms and shoulders, and my traps respond very well to it.

I never do any exercise just to do something. Every exercise I do is based on getting stronger in that area and building up weaknesses.

Hope this helps.

- Josh McMillan

 

To read Josh’s log, click HERE.

To ask a question, click HERE.

 

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About the Author

Josh is from Michigan with a professional powerlifting total in the 275 pound weight class. In his most recent meets he benched a personal record 780 pounds, Squated 865 lbs, and deadlifted a personal best of 804 pounds. Josh has been competing for over a decade and currently trains in Michigan at his home gym. View Josh’s Training Log HERE