T Nation

Calves and Forearms?


What are some optimal set/rep/frequency workouts for calves and forearms? Mine are lagging. The rest of my body has taken off (size and strength). But these two parts are not. I train them hard, with specific exercises with mediocre results. What has worked for some of you guys??

I have searched for various progrmas on this site, but they seem to advocate different protocols, etc. Leaving just as confused as before. Thnaks for the advice !!


do the old school calf blast, it was posted a few weeks ago

if you do it all through correctly, you will get good results


For calves, I train them almost daily. I'll use the stairs at my house and get some sets in with just using bodyweight. I won't do an actual workout, but I'll work them. I believe the calves need to be training frequently. Doing calves every 4th or 5th day won't cut it. I have very small calves and have actually gained almost 1/4" on them within a few months by training them frequently.

As for reps and rep scheme, it will vary. Some days I'll get a good stretch at the bottom of every rep (2 second stretch) and then go up at a normal pace. I believe I got this technique from a writer here at T-Nation. Then, sometimes I'll just do "21s" for calves but will do 15-20 reps instead of the 7 reps.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


Right now I am pretty much hitting them once or twice a week like my other body parts. I felt that they may need more frequent training.


Until they are tired/When they are enough recovered


I used to train calves that way. I'd hit them hard once or twice a week. To be perfectly honest, I swear they would shrink if I didn't work them at least once a week.

As I said before, flexing them and stretching them, IMO, is what has made them grow in the past few months, along with frequent training (4x+ per week)


if you want them to get bigger with solid muscle 4-6 rep range, if you want more fluiod volume 8-12 range

dont over work them either, like if you want to do a blast week to keep you body guessing thats one thing but dont work them EVERY DAY for weeks on end, thats too much


Fluid volume? Muscle is muscle.

I have trained my calves close to everyday for nearly a year now. The result was nearly an inch gained on them after them not seeming to grow from anything else. Blanket statements are a bitch, huh?


Ahh, the neglected parts that still stick out of shorts and shirts.

Well, the calves have been well addressed so onto the forearms.
Tip one is to ditch straps. I have straps but they stay in my bag and haven't been out in a long time. My grip has improved past my deadlift amount - which is still on the suck side - so that's not a problem. And do deadlifts and all those things that cause you to hold heavy weights.

For direct work do wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. You can do the behind the back barbell curls, too, which are nice for a change. Aside from those, I do farmer's walks and waiter's walks. I had a wrist roller but some bastard stole it. I really should make a new one.
For grip strength I have the Ironmind 1 +2 grippers, do hub holds for time (hold the hub of an old plate if you have those at your gym), dbell holds for time (hold the head of a dbell, I got bitty girlie hands so can just manage those 25pound rubber octagonal ones.)

Also, if your gym does that Body Pump program or has something like its coated barbell, you can grap one end of it and do one handed figure eight swings like you are Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, or Toshiro Mifune if you prefer.
I like working my forearms. One day I want to roll a frying pan like Kaz.
And eat it.


really! i'm using it and i get a huge improvement in my calves!


Work them. Alot of people just complain about their calves but don't give them nearly as much work as other muscle groups. Look up Don Alessi's article on training calves - he makes an interesting point about pushing from the toes (or not pushing to be more precise).

As for fore-arms (I got the genetic short-straw on both calves and fore-arms) I found that lifting heavy and using wraps or foam to do thick-bar training will add size. I have yet to see someone with big fore-arms doing wrist curls, you're forearms will take more of a hammering doing heavy dumbell work.


I agree completely. If you want big forearms, get rid of the wrist wraps and lift heavy.


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my forearms have been getting significantly stronger due to tips I got from another lifter. I was one of those people with "useless strength" because I had the grip of a wet fish.

Use thick barbells for compounds

Avoid straps and chalk

Do one type of grip work at the end of each workout (plate pinch, reverse bb curl, hammer curl, hand grips)

On the last rep of your deadlift sets, hold the barbell as long as possible in the extended portion of the lift.


You could try wither of these routines:

Charles Poliquin routine:

Ian King Routine:


oh yeah, forgot to mention

squeeze the barbell as hard as possible on every rep

do weighted pullups


Calves: I can't give any specific calf training advice, because that's something I'd never had to do with.

Forearms: I used to do reverse curls for the brachiadialis, but now they get such a workout on back day (bent rows, pull-ups) that there's no need. Otherwise, reverse curls are a great exercise.

Wrist flexors and extensors get worked as stabilizers for heavy weight, but I think they also need some range of motion training. Rather than do wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, though, I use a device called the Gripstik:

Yeah, it looks cheesy, but it really works. The spring, along with the fact that you're working against yourself, causes "unlimited resistance". I've been using it for over a year now, and it still gives me a super pump.


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Masturbating while standing on your tippy toes.



i use hooks, but only for traps and the heaviest of deads. i like the isolation you get while doing traps when you don't have to worry about the grip. i like to do three second pauses ath the top, that shit drains grip strength like...... something that really drains grip strength?