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  1. #1
    Registered User cosmokramer1990's Avatar
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    Forearms, calves, traps: How many times per week? # of sets/reps?

    Here's the Cliff Notes version of my question for those who don't feel like reading. For the longer version with more detailed questions, read the post that follows.

    1) How many times per week should I train my smaller muscles like forearms, calves, and trapezius (traps)?

    2) How many different exercises I should do for each body part?

    3) Is there an ideal range of sets and reps?

    Don't know if this matters, but just in case: I am 6'2", 200 lbs with less than 10% body fat. I've been working out regularly for most of the past decade, so I have a fairly advanced workout routine and my body is used to physical exertion/lifting multiple times per week. But I'm wondering if I should shake things up, especially since my forearms/calves/traps are really stubborn when it comes to growth.

    Also, my overall fitness goal is to steadily keep putting on lean muscle without getting too bulky. Ideally, I'd like to gain another 12-15 pounds of muscle.
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  2. #2
    Registered User cosmokramer1990's Avatar
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    Here's the more detailed version of my post:

    1) How many times per week should I train my smaller muscles like forearms, calves, and trapezius (traps)?

    Right now, I train them 3x per week because they don't grow easily (esp. forearms/calves). I do traps and forearms at the end of each of my three weekly upper body workouts (chest on Mon, back on Wed, shoulders on Fri) and do calves on the days in between (Tue/Thu/Sat).

    Is this overkill? I feel like I've gotten better results compared with when I used to do them only once per week, but wonder if 2x per week would be better for growth. Am I right in assuming that these body parts can be worked out more than once per week because they're smaller and more resilient than larger muscles like the pecs/back/shoulders/quads?

    2) How many different exercises I should do for each body part?

    Here is my current 3x per week workout routine for each of these body parts - let me know if I should tweak it:

    TRAPS: The only exercise I do for traps is the standing shrug.
    Is this one exercise enough? Is there another trap exercise that I should do instead of, or along with standing shrugs?

    CALVES:
    I do three exercises per session:
    -standing calf raises
    -seated calf raises (sitting upright and then raising knees upward)
    -angled seated calf raises (using the seated leg press machine)

    Should I cut out one of the seated calf raises and substitute a tibialis anterior exercise instead?

    FOREARMS:
    I do three exercises per session:
    -forearm curls (palms face upward while forearms lie on flat bench)
    -reverse forearm curls (palms face downward while forearms lie on flat bench)
    -forearm twists (not sure if this is the right name for this exercise. I put my forearms on a flat bench with the palms facing upward, then slowly twist my thumbs inward so that the palms end up facing downward at the end of the motion).

    3) Is there an ideal range of sets and reps?

    For each exercise listed above, I do 4 sets x 12 reps per set. Is this too much?

    Just so you know, I do 6-8 reps per set for all other exercises (chest, back, biceps, triceps, squats, etc). I wonder if maybe I should lower my reps to that range and increase the weight for my trap/forearm/calf exercises?
    Last edited by cosmokramer1990; 04-14-2011 at 02:39 AM.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Contract Killer's Avatar
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    I figure most top college athletes train forearms , traps/neck and calves on a daily basis and they show very little signs of over training. I'd say go nuts.
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  4. #4
    Registered User cosmokramer1990's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Contract Killer View Post
    I figure most top college athletes train forearms , traps/neck and calves on a daily basis and they show very little signs of over training. I'd say go nuts.
    Thanks. What are your thoughts on number of exercises for each body part, along with the number of sets and reps?
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  5. #5
    Registered User cosmokramer1990's Avatar
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    Anyone else with thoughts on this topic? These three muscle groups are really stubborn areas for me, so any advice would be appreciated.
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  6. #6
    Johnny Rotten ThickAsABrick's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cosmokramer1990 View Post
    Anyone else with thoughts on this topic? These three muscle groups are really stubborn areas for me, so any advice would be appreciated.
    What you're doing sounds good. Increased volume and frequency are good ideas for these BPs. The rest is simply work over time with some adjustments based on trial and error. Give things a chance to work before you overanalyze.
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  7. #7
    Registered User YeahBuddy2's Avatar
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    Calves are easy to overtrain, so be cautious of that when you are working them. If you overwork your calves its going to be a LONG week, haha. If your caluses don't hurt to the touch, and your forearms arent sore on a given day, it's perfectly fine to work your forearms, even if you already did a day or two before. For traps, try throwing in a few variations of shrugs (dumbbells, barbell, smith machine, or stand with the smith machine on the side of you and do one at a time). Use a few of these or superset them into your trap workout and it should give you the feeling like you worked them well the following day.

    Also, if you use straps to train try ditching them for a few weeks. Force yourself to grip the weight yourself, this will also work your forearms. If you do this for say a back workout and want to throw in traps at the end, then use the straps so you can load the weight on to lift more for your weaker area.. just a thought.
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  8. #8
    Registered User cosmokramer1990's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by YeahBuddy2 View Post
    Calves are easy to overtrain, so be cautious of that when you are working them. If you overwork your calves its going to be a LONG week, haha. If your caluses don't hurt to the touch, and your forearms arent sore on a given day, it's perfectly fine to work your forearms, even if you already did a day or two before. For traps, try throwing in a few variations of shrugs (dumbbells, barbell, smith machine, or stand with the smith machine on the side of you and do one at a time). Use a few of these or superset them into your trap workout and it should give you the feeling like you worked them well the following day.

    Also, if you use straps to train try ditching them for a few weeks. Force yourself to grip the weight yourself, this will also work your forearms. If you do this for say a back workout and want to throw in traps at the end, then use the straps so you can load the weight on to lift more for your weaker area.. just a thought.
    Excellent tips, thanks.
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  9. #9
    Registered User cosmokramer1990's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ThickAsABrick View Post
    What you're doing sounds good. Increased volume and frequency are good ideas for these BPs. The rest is simply work over time with some adjustments based on trial and error. Give things a chance to work before you overanalyze.
    Good advice - appreciate it.
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