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Am I Overtraining my Calves?


Just a quick question about training calves if anyone would kindly give some advice if able.

I naturally have small calves so have been focusing on them more than most more genetically blessed guys probably do. This is my calf workout;

4 Sets - Seated Calf Raise

4 Sets - Reverse Calf Raise

8 Sets - Standing Calf Raise (5 heavier weight lower reps, last 3 lower weight higher reps)

I do this twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. I have seen definite progress in both size and definition - not a massive improvement at all but definitely still something, albeit over quite a long period of time (around 6 months). I’m now concerned I might be doing more than is necessary, or even worse killing some gains by overtraining. This is because after doing some research most sample workouts/articles about calves I’ve came across recommend less sets (most say something like just 3 seated sets, 3 standing sets). On the face of it, it would seem I’m doing too many sets.

Do you guys think I would be just as well off, or even better off, doing less sets? And input appreciated. Thanks.

= don’t change a thing.


Yeah, that’s why I am surprised to see that it seemingly isn’t the done thing. So naturally I started to wonder if, although I have seen progress, I could be making more by not potentially over-training. I’ve definitely seen change but don’t get me wrong it’s pretty minor. But still progress like you say. I’ll probably continue with my current routine if I don’t get a consensus telling me otherwise. Thanks​:+1::+1:

If you’re making gains consistently over a few training cycles than ur probably fine as far a balancing recovery and training goes. Other indicators like if you feel well recovered on average calves feel strong and ready to work hard not much joint soreness are worth considering.

That is a lot of sets to be fair ~32 per week which is the upper limit I’ve seen prescribed. Calves do lend themselves to higher weekly workloads tho. Only way to know for sure if a lower number of sets will yield similar results (more efficient and give u room to build up in future) or even better results is to drop a bit of volume for a while and see. I wouldn’t reduce by too much though because you know u are making gains at this threshold. Maybe take off 3-5 sets.

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All good on that front. I’ll consider taking off a few sets, thanks. :grin:

No ‘research’ trumps your own results.

Further, can you truthfully say you researched the issue, or did your research consist of looking at a couple of workouts on a couple of websites? Because I can assure you that productive calf workouts vary far more widely in their parameters than your ‘research’ indicates.

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Point taken, makes perfect sense.

Looking at different workouts on different websites is precisely what I did, as well as looking at a few forum threads (not here). Forgive me but I don’t know else to “research” it. I’m not trying to be facetious, maybe there is somewhere I can look up proper scientific studies I don’t know about. I should have just said “From what I looked up” instead of “research”. Anyway, all I came across was giving a lower number of sets than I am currently doing, so naturally it made me start to question what I was doing.

Dude, of all the things to second guess, visible growth in calves would be near the bottom of the list, second only to visible growth in penis size.
I don’t know that 8 sets of standing calf raise are necessary forever, so you could change things up by dropping a couple sets and going a bit harder on the ones before or what have you, but you’re doing a pretty standard calf routine and even hitting your tibia (good job), and it’s working.
Your calves are gonna let you know when they’re overtrained, dude. The Sri-Chimnoy Self-Transcendence is 3100 miles long and it’s a foot race. Your calves will soldier on from this.

Hey, do some donkey calf raises too, aka legs locked but bent at the waist, like the combination between sitting and standing. Hits that portion of the calf all the way up at the top, almost behind the knee. Great for knee stability and a good way to periodize your calf training.


I wasn’t referring to the scientific literature so much as questioning whether you looked at a truly representative slice of the kajillion calf programs out there. Because if you had, you would have come away with an impression far different than ‘most programs do 3 sets standing and 3 sitting.’ For example: Arnold had great calves, and did ~15 sets 6x/week. On the other end of the spectrum, Mike Mentzer did just a few sets once a week (if that), and had monstrous calves. The guy with the biggest calves that I personally know doesn’t work his hardly at all–says he inherited naturally huge calves from his mom (!).

In short, there is no consensus on calf work–certainly nothing that would warrant modifying a program that was producing consistent results. So stick with what works until and unless it stops working.


Looking up donkey calf raises now :slight_smile:

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Understood, thanks.

It’s been said twice by smart folks, but I’ll just third: if you’re actually making progress on, by your own account, a weaker bodypart - keep doing exactly that; milk it for all it’s worth.

In general, I think we all tend to mess ourselves up thinking “maybe I could have even more progress.” We’re far more likely to have no progress. If you’re progressing, just keep that rolling.

Not to mention, calves are the freaking hardest thing to grow. Good job.


If I was making definite, visible progress, not only would I not change programs, I probably wouldn’t change socks and/or underwear.

OP, I don’t mean to sound like I’m picking on you–I recognize this is the Beginners section. Best of luck reaching your goals.


Thanks for the reply and the kind words :slight_smile: duly noted

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Not at all, thanks for the good advice and taking the time to give it to me. Much appreciated.