T Nation

Huge Arms and Small Calves


Guys, i have a problem that has only slightly improved in the 7 years ive been training. Basically, my calves are not even 16" yet my arms are 19" (i had an injury in my right arm so it is not as big as my left- but my left is a little over 19")

i train my calves HARD 3 times a week and train the tibia (doing reverse calf raises) too. they used to be 14 back in the summer, so they have grown a little. However in the past couple of months they have not grown at all... even though i am training them mightily hard!

my quads are pretty good though at almost 27", so that is not an issue for me fortunately

i put pics in the pictures section... http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/pictures_pics_photo_body_rate_image_performance/25_years_old_510_and_219_lbs

Any suggestions how i can get my calves to maybe 16-16.5"? I would be happy even if they got there... of course for me to be "even" they'd have to be at about my arm size. And despite the large size for my arms, they are still growing- which i am happy about. i only wish i could say the same for my calves now



Take a look at this thread.


Sounds a bit contrary to popular opinion, but have you tried lowering the frequency yet? Like to once a week?

The irony of the situation for me was when I "gave up" on my calves, I still did tons of sets (probably around 8+ or so) but reduced reps to around 6 reps/set and did that once a week (or just slightly more) and they seemed to respond well to that! That's despite having given them loads of attention before with training them 2-3x/week to no avail.

My calves always seemed to hover around 14/15", but went to 16+ when I did the above ^

You need tons of weight IMO, they just don't respond otherwise. So this means increasing the load to a maximal lift, then repping/setting till failure on several sets.

What you could try is 1 heavy day for calves (like above), then 2 high rep/pump days.


Try walking on a treadmill at a very high incline, it allows you to get some light cardio in and get some additional calf stimulation. I've cut back big time on direct calf work and I've found they've been filling out big time since then.


DC protocol.


Have you tried training calves first in your workouts when your fresh?

That may help if you have been training them at the end of our workouts


Stop talking about me behind my back.




I should contribute.

MPG, Try reducing your frequency to 2x per week.

The thing that really made my calves grow in the past couple of months have been flat-footed calf raises (barefoot if you're allowed, or at home). Stand under a heavy bar in the Smith machine. Go up on your toes fast and forcefully and lower under control. Do 8 reps to failure. Reduce the weight (20-40 lbs) and do another set to failure while trying to do a few more reps than the last set. Continue in this fashion until you've done 4-6 sets and your last set you can do 15 reps. Rest just long enough between sets to change the weights.

The crampy, full pump will be a killer!


I'm of the mind that calves are 3/4 genetic, 1/4 effort.


Mine look ok now, but it took a long time for them to catch up. I know they are at least 18 right now (hopefully a little bigger) which may not be a small number in itself, but to match everything else, they would need to be around 20 or more.

Before that car wreck, I was training mine everyday before I trained anything else and that helped more than anything I had tried before.


I dont think it has to do with his lack of calcium ions or lactic acid build up due to other muscles being worked. Plus if that were the case, all he would have to do is drink powerade throughout his workout to keep his 36 ATP cycle going.


^^^ Somehow a discussion about training calves leads you to the ATP cycle?? ReallY?



Gatorade or no gatorade, there is a difference between training a muscle at the beginning of a workout vs. the end. Even if there is no lactic buildup or whatever. Hitting calves at the beginning of a workout and making them the first priority rather than tacking them on to the end of a workout (not to say OP is just "tacking" them on) may make a difference for someone that has lagging calves


You have no idea what you are talking about if you think the order you train muscle groups has nothing to do with how much intensity they get.

This is one reason larger lifters often train less muscle groups on the same day than beginners.

Take a biology course and quit getting everything you know from bb.com.


I agree with them being genetic, mine are close to 18 and I've trained them maybe twice in my life. I know that doesn't help at all, but I thought I would share.




Yawn. You train them really hard 3 times per week??? Is that working for ya? No? Then guess what? Train them every single day. Actually train them every single day on their own for a full half an hour. Do over 1,000 reps per week. If that doesn't work, do it 1,500 times per week.

Are you getting my point? How badly do you want to change the size of your calves? Because they WILL grow if you force them to grow.

I did this with reckless abandon. Trained them almost every day, negatives, static holds, multiple explosive reps, sit down calve raise, stand up calve raises, donkey calf raises, toes pointed inward, toes pointed outward, stretched the hell out of them, visualized them getting bigger. Again, are you feeling me yet? That's the type of EFFORT it's going to take if you REALLY want to change the size and look of your calves.

My calves are now over 17" after I put over an inch and a half on them in a couple of months. People would never guess I had small calves before. They figure it's just genetics.


Bullshit. If you put in ENOUGH effort, you can change the size of your calves. Limited thinking.


but your freaking arms...