T Nation

Calves, Grow 'Em Big


So, I never really train calves directly too much, but I am wanting to start. Want to hear what you guys think works or has worked for you.

I have had a few people ask what I do for them and my response is mostly nothing, but I don't think they are anything standout. I want to change that.


They stand out to people who don't have decent calf genetics. People like you will see progress just from regular training, stretching and holding peak contractions.

I had to train mine every damn day just so they didn't look quite so much like sticks.


I think calf training is a topic that has been beaten to absolute death, in total honesty.

This may sound like a jest, but I'm 100% serious. There is no mass-builder for calves like years of morbid obesity. Or being Korean.


I go slow, light, and high rep. Pause at the top. Heavy calf work with bouncing and such does nothing but give me tendon and ligament problems.


Srs though, what's with the Korean calves? Fucking lower leg tumors that make white guys jealous.


High reps, heavy weight within reason, get a pump and hold a big stretch. If you are doing it right it should be grueling, they about the slowest twitch muscle you have and are remarkable strong.

A couple of my favorites are big 40 rep (5x8) dropsets on the seated, and 10+5+5 reps on a leg press while holding the bottom position in a big stretch for a solid 10 secs in between reps.

As someone fairly small who has never carried alot of excess poundage it took alot of work to bring my calves up, they looking pretty good now.

And don't forget tibialis training, this can help get a good round look to your calf. The tibialis is the muscle that allows dorsi flexion of the foot, like a toe raise.


Bauber, you could give the DC way of training calves a chance. I'd start out light at first to get used to it. What you do is perform an explosive concentric and squeeze for about one second at the top followed by a five second decent. When you are at the bottom position, hold the deepest stretch you can handle for fifteen seconds. Then repeat. I do this for about ten to twelve reps. Feel free to do three sets or so, but don't go crazy the first time around. It will feel strange at first holding that stretch so long. You can use this technique with any calve variation, whether it be standing/seated/leg press/etc. I feel it the most on standing machines though.


Its Asian calves in general, not just Korean. Japanese men have impressive calves also if they aren't the super skinny version. I think Asians have good genetics for legs, that or they aren't afraid to work them in the gym.

I can't give any advice on calf development. I'm still looking for the magic solution that will let me look like I work them.


caprylic acid injections work wonders for calves. Not a fun time for the first couple weeks however. Training wise, meadows has a thing he does on the leg press where he does timed sets for 1 minute, basically go until you cant do a full rep and then do partials for the rest of the minute. It hurts. I use a weight that I can get about 30-35 full reps before going to partials


How many iterations of the "minute work calves" do you do? I assume more than one.


If you have a step at home, which you do, get off your ass and knock 100 full ROM bodyweight reps out of the park a day.

10 reps rest 10 sec
20 reps rest 20 sec
30 reps

That's a lot of pain and 120 reps in like 5 minutes. You just skipped the commercials.


I am guessing these never quite took off.

Calves are the one body part that is doomed to be held back the most by genetics. If you grew up with sticks, you probably won't be looking like Erik Fankhouser any time soon.


Thanks for all the advice guys. Going to start giving it a try!

And X I remember those things haha. Even tried running in them once pulling chutes and they didn't make me any faster like they claimed. Bastards.


Part of shitty calf genetic club. Thanks dad.


I have always had great calves and hardly if ever train them (thanks mom & dad) but when I do I follow a couple rules that i think help.

Start with a seated variation to fatigue the soleus. I do a couple sets of low reps6-12 then a couple of 15-20 rep sets. Exploding rep 2 sec pause on top and 1 sec stretch on bottom

Then i move unto something like leg press calf raises same rep tempo and keep sets in the 10-20 rep range. At least 6 sets.

Do this 3 times a week.

Like I've said i have always had good calf size and get bored training them but when i do train them this protocol gets me good results


Also in between sets stretch each calf separately


Also in between sets stretch each calf separately


Can you elaborate a bit on this? Just curious.


Hey, just curious, do you recommend stretching each calf separately between sets?


eh, I've tried everything for my calves and they just grow when everything else grows and I don't think the rate of their growth would change with different training styles as long as you're training them.. btw how much are you weighing right now bro?