T Nation

Calves, Why Won't You Grow?

I read an article here on T nation that prompted me to make an account and ask this question. It was on calves and I was always under the assumption that they where for the most part genetics. Which is why mine have always been so small. Apparently, that’s not the case. I’m wondering if I could get some help here. What exercises should I be performing? As well as volume. How many sets and reps. I live in the sticks, and the gym I go to does not have a calf raise machine. Thanks everyone, much appreciated!

What’s your height, weight, and general bodyfat?

We should start with knowing how you’ve been training them so far. And what does your overall training plan look like?

Lots (and lots) of different approaches work, but one common thread to forcing growth is frequency. Hit them often, like every day of the week, every workout, 2-3 days a week, whatever. This allows a variety of exercises, sets, reps, intensity techniques and a barrage of stimulus so that they have to respond with growth.

Basic calf raises with a barbell will be fine. If you can use a step, even better, but not necessary. If you have a seated calf machine, you can use that for larger ROM while doing standing raises flat-foot on the ground.

This calf workout isn’t too shabby. Add it to the end of any training session: https://www.t-nation.com/training/building-fat-guy-calves

1 Like

first question, what race are you? And how tall are you? Answer that and everything that Chris asked.

1 Like

The fact that you’re posting in the beginner section is really your answer. It takes years to build calves for people who are not already predisposed to having large calves.

Heavy work is key. It can be heavy carries, heavy calf raises, heavy squats, heavy deadlifts, whatever. Just takes a ton of work. And also just becoming a heavier person. Fat guys have large calves for a reason. If you weigh 150 lbs, you just won’t have big calves, unless your genetics say otherwise.

Just hit them hard all the time. They can handle a ton of volume, since they’re already used to you walking around on them all day. My gym has no calf raise, so I stand at the edge of a box (in front of something to hold onto), hang weight on myself, and do calf raises that way.

Do the John Meadows short on time calf workout at the end of every session and come back here with a post “Where do you find jeans when you have humongous calves”

I think a big key to calf training is pausing at the top and bottom of every rep. Your calves and achilles are designed to work as a giant spring, slow down and don’t bounce out the reps, make the muscle work.