T Nation

Calves..How Many Sets?


I was just curious how many sets of calves the average serious trainer does for size. I've been doing roughly 9-12 sets twice per week. That sound about right? I'm getting stronger and I've seen a small amount of growth. They are pretty weak and I can tell it's gonna take a lot to get them to respond. Any input or advice would be appreciated. Here's my current routine:


Calf Raises 3-4 sets 20, 15, 12, 10

CR on leg press 3-4 sets 20, 20, 15, 15

Seated CR 2-3 sets 15, 12, 10

Friday: Same exercises but do everything unilaterally.

I get a great pump but thought I may be missing something somewhere....


Since we're on the subject of calves, how light should the weight be? I went a little heavy on them and they were sore for days.


I like Doggcrapp style calve training.

1 set of 10-12 reps.
Lift all the way up onto your big toe
5 second negative
15 seconds in the full stretched position


On leg day being Wednesday, I usually do 10x10 of calve press. If I have extra time I'll do 4x25 of standing calve raise on Mondays and 5x10 of sitting calve raise on Fridays. This out of help bring up that muscle.


Yeah I train DC style, 1 set after warmups 3 times in two weeks

{edited for better accuracy)


Me three.

Holding the stretch doesn't seem like a big deal at first, but man does it start to suck towards the end of the set. And after just one set you'd be amazed at how fatigued you calves are.


I've had the best results training them every training day, alternating Gastroc (usually donkeys) and Soleus exercises.

2-5 sets depending on how I feel.

Soleus (seated) I'll sometimes do as 1 giant strip set.


I've been following the rep schemes CT recommends and it seems to be working well. I train calves twice at least twice a week.

Donkey calve raises - 4-5 sets 5-8 reps
Seated calve raises - 3-4 sets 15-20 reps

Since I've been doing this, my calve strength has really increased. I'm giving up on the donkey calve raise machine because the weight stack is no longer heavy enough.