T Nation

Best Way to Train Calves?


When training calves is it best to go heavy and only be able to go half way up is is it best to go light and get the full motion?

This maybe a stupid question, but I was just wondering.



Half squats, half preacher curls, half rows, foreplay without sex...

Really dude, did you have to ask? Never go halfway.


that's what I was thinking, but I watched a lot of videos where people did half raises, so I had to ask.

anyways, thanks for your help


why would you go light? go heavy and use full range man


Deadlifts, powerlifting squats, bench presses, military presses, rows of any kind, dips, front raises, lateral raises, planches, levers etc. : NONE of them train the joints through their full range of motion. Better stop doing them.

In fact, unless someone will invent some really freaky machines, few exercises train the muscles through their full ROM.

(by this I'm not saying that one shouldn't strive for full range in an exercise)


Some of the best gains I've ever made for my calves have been performing heavy, heavy flat-footed calf raises in a smith machine.


Fucking DC calf training.

Trust me.

You know why guys load up with the whole stack and do intense knee pushes in the calf machine? It's because they're fucking idiots. And I can guarantee almost none of them have big calves.

Train DC calf style.

Train your calves like a DC'er would.

Do the DC version of training calves.

Fucking Christ this shit needs to be said a million fucking times on this board.



I have nasty calves


So, wait.. You're saying what now?


Get fat, not just a little bit, I mean ALOT fat. Live that way many years, then lose the extra weight and get fit. Viola! You have awesome calves.

On a more serious note, calves respond well to both heavy weight and lots of repetition, it's like a 1980's bodybuilding dream come true. Basically if you destroy them, they will grow. (unlike most other bodyparts)


Lol, well played. I guess I was natty ragin' after leg day today, haha.

I seriously think guys don't give uber-heavy MM-connection-esque calf work like DC a try though, in all seriousness. If volume, volume, volume doesn't work why do people keep doing it?


I found that jumping rope has helped with my calves. Also... doing 3 part calves help. Hold the down position for a 3 count, hold the middle for 3 counts, then the up position for 3 counts; thats one rep. Repeat, go heavy 3-6 reps


This. I would also pursue some full range movementds as well. I've also found that heavy weights with lower rep ranges(~5) and slow eccentrics work well when in a standing position and lighter weights in higher rep ranges (16-25) work well when in a seated position with bent knees, the former better targeting the gastrocnemius and the latter hitting the soleus.


This, it is the most horrible thing for me in the gym - I actually hate it more than widowmakers


Buy a pig, then carry it all day on your shoulders. That extra 150 kgs of weight should help a lot with calf development


Come to a complete stop at the bottom of the rep to take the elasticity of your achilles out of play.


My calves ain't too shabby so I'll chime in...

I agree with the mentioning of the different fiber types of the soloeus and the gastroc. I've always hit my gastroc (straight leg calf work) with heavy weights and lower reps, while targeting my soleus (bent knee calf work) with lighter weights and higher reps.

With both, I've always stressed a hard contraction held for a second, and slower negative. Additionally, I never bounce out of the bottom of the movement, which I feel just kills a lot of the stress on the muscles, and can actually lead to plantar faciitis (probably spelled incorrectly, but I've had it several times and it truly sucks!).

Lastly, I will note that once I started training each muscle of the calves on different days (divide and conquor), my calves actually started growing. Nowadays, I do straight leg calf work after chest, and bent leg calf work after upper legs. Works like a charm :slightly_smiling:



My calves were pathetic for a long time. What helped was frequency. I do at least some calf work every day. I don't think that exercise selection, speed of contraction, range of motion, etc. do nearly count as much as sheer volume spread over the week.


Just to get an idea.. about how heavy do you go compared to your squat 1rm?


Great tips. I'm trying to bring my calves up because I've always wanted big calves and they are pretty pathetic at the moment. I've started hitting them multiple times a week (both standing and steated) but I was wondering how others program them. Thanks!