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I'm a 26 year old male and I have been fitnessing for almost a year now with the purpose of gaining weight.

I was born with malformation in my right foot (the bones were all in wrong positions) and a short agilis tendon. After almost 20 times surgery my foot is now good but very immobile, they attached my metatarsals to each other and a blocked ankle, I can move it up and down a little bit but not sideways.

Over the years this left me with a big difference in muscle mass between my two legs. My right calf is 1/3 of my left one, my left leg did almost all the work my entire life. So my right calf is very underdeveloped. Because of the underdevelopment it is nearly impossible to do one foot calf raises.

How can I train ONLY my right calf to lessen the difference knowing the above?

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From what you've written it sounds like you have a subtalor fusion (inability to move ankle side to side but have some up and down).

Now the limited amount of up and down (plantarflexion / dorsiflexion) will mean that your calf complex (3 muscles in total - Gastroc / Soleus and Plantaris) will simply not need to function as they normally would to provide the (down) strength as your ankle doesn't move that way much.

Thus unfortunately your calf on that side will always be smaller, and it is not possible to build the strength / bulk similar to the other side as the muscles aren't being used much.

As a side note, I would seriously avoid following the advice of doing any heavy calf raises, heavy weight stretches etc as this will only place undue force on your fusion. They unfortunately will not help, but could very well cause further damage.

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You may be able to build muscle mass in your right calf by exploiting the stress-recovery-adaptation that underlies effective strength training. That is, in your case, you may progressively overload your calf muscles by doing weighted single-legged calf raises at appropriate time intervals, with increasing work-weight.

Start with three sets of five ("3x5") single-legged calf raises with just your bodyweight. If that is too difficult, then begin your training with assistance: use your arms to support just enough of your bodyweight to your enable you to finish the sets.

Next time (in 48-72 hours), try to use your arms even less, or not at all. Next time after that, hold a five-pound weight (for example, a dumbbell) in your right hand. Continue to add weight from there. Be sure to eat and sleep enough to enable recovery, that is, muscle growth.

  • Because of the blockade in my ankle I have very limited motion in my foot. If I go stand on my toes my heel is less than 3 cm from the ground. Are calf raises the most efficient way if i can't really raise them? – Jungkook Feb 1 '18 at 15:04
  • @Jorrit, I'm sorry to hear that your range of motion (ROM) is so limited, but I have no idea how you will apply enough stress to the muscle to stimulate hypertrophy other than by moving a load with it. What if you put a block (for example, a piece of wood) beneath the ball of your right foot? Can you do weighted calf raises from that "deficit" with a longer total ROM? – Christian Conti-Vock Feb 1 '18 at 17:40
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HEAVY weighted calf stretching require 0 range of motion. Just stay in the bottom position of a calf raise and stretch the muscles with really heavy weight.

Do 10 sets of holding the stretched position for 20 seconds.

This builds immense calves and at the same time stretches the muscles so you dont get muscle thightness.

About the weight, i usually suggest starting with twice your body weight and progressing from there,but in your case start with something less extreme, when you plateau just switch from barbells to dumbells or change foot position.

  • How exactly will the muscle get bigger and stronger if you don't contract it? – Alec Mar 3 '18 at 17:26
  • All muscles work harder in the stretched position compared to the contracted position. Thats why negative reps build strenght and muscle. Think of deadlifts, you dont contract the shoulders yet deadlifts are some of the best back traps builders. – user27941 Mar 3 '18 at 17:49

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