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Calf Training - Exercises & Rep Ranges


I don't train calves right now. I'm cutting right now though and I figure as weight drops, they're gonna drop in size too if I don't start hitting them.

I keep hearing that high reps and frequent training are needed to hit calves, but do low reps have a place here? And just how high are high reps?

I'll be training calves on my 3 off days. The exercises I have to use are:

-standing calf raises on the Hammer Strength hack squat

-Seated calf raises, but the knees are not bent. this machine: http://us.commercial.lifefitness.com.../calfextension

-I can make a makeshift seated calf raise by putting 2 25s under my toes and using the lying leg curl.

Which of these should I incorporate and what kind of reps/sets should I be hitting?


I like training calves every time I work out since they recover so fast and I have tiny calf genetics :frowning:

usually do something like

1: 5x6-8 Standing Focus
2: 5x6-8 Bent Knee Focus
3: 5x10-12 Standing
4: 5x10-12 Bent

And for the 5th set I always try and do a drop set like 350-250-150-100-50 and then limp away to the change room

Make sure you do bent knee calf exercises to work on the soleus and not just the gastrocs.


I'd probably be doing both bent and straight in the same session because I'll have a day just for calves and cardio maybe.

So, you're not doing any high rep work at all? High rep work as in 20+.. I used to do one leg standing calf raises for 25-30 reps when I trained calves.

Also, could I get some opinions on the LiftFitness calf machine I linked? That doesn't qualift as a bent knee calf raise, does it?


I found the Diamonds in the Rough from John Roman pretty good. http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/diamonds_in_the_rough&cr=

The first time I did it my calf were sore for a full week. It was brutal.

The only problem was that my feet started getting sore after a few weeks from all the work so I had to take a break. Still I got some growth.


^I'll take a look at that.

Basically, what rep ranged are best for bent legged calf raises and what's best for stiff legged ones?

And any opinions on the link?..


I think I've used that machine before and it's not the greatest. Your knees are usually only slightly bent so it's not much of a soleus work out and it's hard to get a good range of motion with.

those are nice for working your soleus

or if your gym has heavy dumbbells you can sit down with your foot on a couple plates and the dumbbell sitting on your knee and do one leg bent knee calf raises.

also I usually only take 30-45 seconds between sets when doing calves so the reps add up fast.


Yeah, I wish we had that one.

I'm thinking I'll do something like...

standing Hammer Strength hack squat machine calf raises: 4 x 8-10

LifeFitness calf machine: 4x 12-14

Seated bent knee calf raise on leg curl or with dumbbell: 5 x 18-20


Heavy and hard and using a 12-16 rep range and on another session with medium weight and with a 15-20 rep range. Mine grow by just looking at the calve rise so I train them EO week


I've had that one saved as a favorite for a while now. It will really kick your ass.


Honestly I think the only way to go is the DC method. I've tried everything for calves and DC was really my saving grace for that.

I hit the gastroc twice a week and the soleus once. 10-12 reps, squeeze at the top, 5 second negative and 15 second stretch after each rep and then you are done. Totally brutal and totally effective.


Very good advice from my experience.


Well must be nice you asshole! :slightly_smiling:


I've had pretty good results just doing calf presses on the leg press machine. I use lower reps than most of you guys have stated, but I go as heavy as the machine allows. Last set is only 6 reps.


Yeah, but you've gotta be a couple sandwiches short of a picnic to do those right on a regular basis :wink: they are absolutely not for the feint of heart.

Another important thing to note is that just like any other muscle, you've got to get your calves significantly stronger if you want them to significantly grow. Doing set after endless set aiming for "the pump" or DOMS doesn't mean squat if you aren't consistently adding weight to the exercises.

Sure, you'll get some swelling and the increased blood flow might make the calves appear larger immediately after the workout, but those are temporary gains. If you want permanent size gains, you've got to expose your calves to progressive resistance/increasingly heavier loads.

That is, unless you're one of those bastards with great calf genetics who's calves will pretty much grow from anything.


X2......the DC method performed correctly results in 4-6 minutes of teeth grinding, brain numbing, blow torch enduring discomfort.........no meek lifters need apply!!!! I also like the 'Toe March' method I found on the Intense Muscle forum - Treadmill on speed 2.5/ incline on max angle/ 10 - 15 minute walk on tip-toes (D.Bells or Vest for added resistance)
Whatever approach a lifters chooses Sentoguy is correct....you must be consistently adding weight.


I agree completely, and the last 2-3 reps I always end up closing my eyes and going off to neverneverland wanting this to be over asap.

What are the 3 different ones you do?


Calves are the most painful exercise I've done using the DC method, but the type of shoes you wear are important when you're doing them.




haha I know man, I have my training partner count out everything for me b/c I'm just closing my eyes and moaning in pain lol, there's no way I can count much of anything except the reps.

I do legpress ones, the angled seated calf raise and the regular bent knee seated calf raise.


haha I hear you man, I mean I've been working calves for about 2 years now with varying methods, frequency, volume etc and nothing really worked. I will gladly go through the pain of the DC set for the results it gives. I mean I've put 1/4th inch on them in about 6 weeks, which is awesome for me. Makes me a happy camper to finally find something that works for a muscle that I've always been insecure about.