T Nation

Bitchen Calf Routines

Does anyone have any really great calf routines that truly work? I left this post for a few of the coaches, but no one wrote back, so now I am asking the general T-Nation population for any real good calf routines. Hear is a little bit about my self and training style.

I would like to improve my calves and bring them up to an even 19 inches cold to match my arms and neck. They are 18 and a half inches now and I just need the best routine you have to add that last half inch. I am currently 23 years old and have been training with weights for 12 years. I am a 6 foot 2, 285 pound Mesomorph with 15% body fat or an Earth/Wood combination on Charles Poliquins element system. I personally do better on a high volume of training, as long as I train to tempo failure and not ultimate failure. At 80% of my 1 RM I can achieve 14 reps for the Soleus and 8 reps for the Gastrocnemius. I generally train twice per day and my split goes like this.

Sunday: AM Arms PM Shoulders
Monday: AM Calves PM Legs
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: AM Chest/Back PM Calves
Thursday: OFF
Friday: Repeat

So you can see how I have trained my calves in the past; here are the 3 calf routines I rotated to get my calves to their current size. Each routine was used for 6 workouts or 1 month before it was replaced.

Program 1
Work out 1
A1 Seated Calf Raise 12 X 3 at a 2114 tempo and 30 second rest interval
B1 Stiffie Lounge 8 X 10 at a 2211 and 60 second rest interval
C1 Donkey calf raises 1 X 25 at an 1111 tempo

Work out 2
A1 Leg Press Calf Raises 12 X 4 at a 2113 tempo and 30 second rest interval
B1 Heal Tow Farmers Walk 2 X 20 with 60 second rest interval
C1 Seated Calf Raises 2 X 25 at a 1111 tempo and 60 second rest interval

Program 2
Work out 1
A1 Standing calf raise static holds 5 X 45 seconds at peak contraction
A2 Standing Calf Raise 5 X 9 at a 3111 tempo and 60 second rest interval

Work Out 2
B1 Seated Calf Raise Static Holds 5 X 60 seconds at peak contraction
B2 Seated Calf Raise 5 X 15 at a 3111 tempo and 60 second rest interval

Program 3
Work Out 1
A1 Seated Calf Raise Drop Set 3 X 10-5-5 at a 1010 tempo
A2 Donkey calf raises 3 X 30-50 at an 1110 tempo with 120 seconds rest nterval after the A1 B2 supper set.
B1 Donkey Calf Raises 10 X 10 at an 1110 tempo with 10 second rest interval

Work Out 2
Donkey Calf Raises 3 X 10-10-10 drop set at a 1210 tempo and 90 second rest interval

As far as the weights go at the gym I have a Donkey Calf Machine with a 400 pound stack, a Leg Press that holds 32 plates, a V-Squat Machine and Hack Squat Machine that holds 18 plates and a Seated Calf Raise machine all within 20 seconds of each other. At my home gym I have a 90 pound weight vest, 105 pound dumbbells, and a Power Rack and Smith Machine. There is also a sand box near buy if you need me to do anything unconventional in my calf training.

Thank you for your help everyone!

My calves are possibly my worst body part, or at least they were. I put an inch on them in the last year just training them everyday. They are the first thing I train when I get to the gym. It is no more complicated than 3 sets of seated and then 3 sets of standing calf raises. I think frequency, heavy weight and your overall body weight are what will help those without genetically large calf muscles. In other words, even if you train them constantly, if your body weight isn’t increasing at all, don’t expect much of a difference. They measure about 19" right now but will probably drop a little when I drop weight.

The other thing that helped me keep focus on them is wearing shorts in the gym. I used to never wear shorts but now feel uncomfortable without them. You won’t forget to train them if you can see them at all times.

I would agree with prof X.

when I started doing them first and before everyworkout was when I started seeing noticeable results.

anywhere from 3-10 sets… seated calf raises and leg press calve raises…my gym doesnt have a standing calf raise machine…

also 2 things that I do now…

I take my shoes off(keep socks on) - this helped me get up a little higher on my big toe

I also do a lot of one legged seated raises-- had to drop the weight a lot, but I still benefited greatly.

good luck
mt

I can’t help but notice the lack of pulling, and the imbalance of upper to lower body.

But hey, what do I know?

[quote]mtotry wrote:

I take my shoes off(keep socks on) - this helped me get up a little higher on my big toe
mt[/quote]

Good point. I should probably note I always wear those Nike Free 5.0 shoes that are VERY flexible. They make Chuck Taylors look like concrete blocks. I can get full flexibility while training calves so maybe that has helped as well. I still think they need another inch or so just to look filled out but maybe I’m just crazy.

is bitchen really a word?

i finally figured out that getting big calves means either (A) training them very frequently or (B) getting really fat and just existing like that for a couple of years. a scientific study has since proven that i am way too lazy to attempt (A) and, thanks to Chris Shugart, hate fat people so badly that i surely will kill myself if i go the (B) route.

I think being heavy and walking around on the damn things all day is the best calf exercise. Our lineman coach in football had the biggest calves I have ever seen to this very day, and all he did for them was exist as a 350 pound man for 20 some years.

Beyond getting heavy I’ll agree with what X said that frequency is key. It’s not like calves are super-taxing or time consuming to work and you can hit them almost everday. It worked for Arnold!

You may also want to consider throwing in a few shin exercises a few times a week. (I know that’s the front of your leg, but increasing that muscle will not only make your lower legs look bigger, but it is important to keep balance). I just lay a 45 and some smaller plates on on the toes of one foot and flex the foot upwards for reps. Another good exercise is to put a board under the Smith Machine and just put your heels on it. The starting position should be with your toes pointing down with a stretch in your shin muscles. Reps are done by flexing your feet upwards, raising up on your heels. (Using the Smith machine allows you to do this without falling forward off the board).

I was cursed with small calves, so I’ve been training them hard & I’ve noticed that also training the shin muscles helps make my lower legs look bigger.

I agree about the frequency. I did Chad Waterbury’s 100 Reps program, trained my calves every day for a month and put nearly an inch on them.

[quote]colonelquack wrote:
I can’t help but notice the lack of pulling, and the imbalance of upper to lower body.

But hey, what do I know?[/quote]

Could you be more specific on, “the lack of pulling and the imbalance of upper to lower body?”

[quote]Professor X wrote:
My calves are possibly my worst body part, or at least they were. I put an inch on them in the last year just training them everyday. They measure about 19" right now but will probably drop a little when I drop weight.

[/quote]

Your worst body part is 19 inches, your a Freak!

[quote]J.W. wrote:
You may also want to consider throwing in a few shin exercises a few times a week. (I know that’s the front of your leg, but increasing that muscle will not only make your lower legs look bigger, but it is important to keep balance). I just lay a 45 and some smaller plates on on the toes of one foot and flex the foot upwards for reps. Another good exercise is to put a board under the Smith Machine and just put your heels on it. The starting position should be with your toes pointing down with a stretch in your shin muscles. Reps are done by flexing your feet upwards, raising up on your heels. (Using the Smith machine allows you to do this without falling forward off the board).

I was cursed with small calves, so I’ve been training them hard & I’ve noticed that also training the shin muscles helps make my lower legs look bigger. [/quote]

Thanks, I will have to try the Smith machine exercise. I have tried hooking a strap around my foot and attaching it to a low-pully cable to work the tibialis. It works prety good but you can only work one leg at a time.

[quote]daniel_lamon wrote:

Thanks, I will have to try the Smith machine exercise. I have tried hooking a strap around my foot and attaching it to a low-pully cable to work the tibialis. It works prety good but you can only work one leg at a time.[/quote]

Yeah, I just started the Smith Machine thing a few weeks ago & it works awesome for me! The platform I use is about 4" tall, so it allows me to get a good range of motion with my feet.

[quote]J.W. wrote:
daniel_lamon wrote:

Thanks, I will have to try the Smith machine exercise. I have tried hooking a strap around my foot and attaching it to a low-pully cable to work the tibialis. It works prety good but you can only work one leg at a time.

Yeah, I just started the Smith Machine thing a few weeks ago & it works awesome for me! The platform I use is about 4" tall, so it allows me to get a good range of motion with my feet.[/quote]

Have you ever used a leg curl machine to train you tibialis? This is how it goes. You sit on the bench and face the leg curl pad. You then place your feet under the pad and curl the toes up. You only get 4 inches of movement, but due to the cam on the machine it becomes very difficult to get the last inch or so of the movement which is wher it realy burnes. How much weight do you use and for what sets and reps on the smith machine version?