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Bigger calves from doing higher resistance training volume?

We compared the effects of different calf training weekly sets on muscle size changes. Sixty-one untrained young women performed a calf training program for 6 weeks, 3 d·wk-1, with differences in the resistance training volume. The participants were randomly assigned to 1 of the 3 groups: 6-SET, 9-SET, and 12-SET calf training weekly sets. The calf raise exercise was performed in sets of 15-20 repetitions maximum. The muscle thickness measurements of medial gastrocnemius (MG), lateral gastrocnemius (LG), and soleus (SOL) were taken via B-mode ultrasound. We used the sum of the three-muscle thickness as a proxy for the triceps surae (TSSUM). The 12-SET group elicited greater increases than 6-SET in LG (6-SET = +8.1% vs. 12-SET = +14.3%; P = 0.017), SOL (6-SET = +6.7% vs. 12-SET = +12.7%; P = 0.024), and TSSUM (6-SET = +6.9% vs. 12-SET = +12.0%; P = 0.005), but there was no significant difference in MG changes (6-SET = +6.6% vs. 12-SET = +9.9%; P = 0.067). There were no significant differences when comparing 9-SET vs. 6-SET and 12-SET (P ≥ 0.099). Although all groups experienced calf muscle hypertrophy, our results suggest that the higher dose range may optimize triceps surae muscle size gains.

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