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Is Chasing Weight on Calves Worthless?

Almost every coach advises to do calves exercises with light weight and high reps. But I always wonder why progressive overload( by weight) isn’t usually advised. Is it really worthless?

look like this when you walk, you do one leg calf raise with your bodyweight,right? so if you have 90kgs you do alot of one leg calf raises with 90kg, but you prolly wont get big calfs from that. i only advise to go slow on calf raises, stretch at the bottom, then squeeze and hold at the top. i do 4x25 with 60 sec rest everyday at the end of my workout on the leg press, and my calves have grown alot

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If they are stubborn then you absolutely want to get them bull-strong as well as loads of stretch and reps work


I just read that since hypertrophy is systematic they’re actually the only thing you need to work.

Get them calves jacked bro!


+1 you really have to beat the crap out of them every way possible all in the one session = ) I can get them to grow when really pushing it, but they seem to atrophy faster than other bodyparts so it’s a seasonal thing for me these days haha

Because the calves are a strong muscle group and, at a certain point, trying to go heavier and heavier and heavier gets silly and unproductive.

So chasing weight, like wanting to eventually calf raise 900 pounds, isn’t the best approach. Going heavy isn’t the same as what I’d call “chasing weight”. Going heavy - using a weight that limits you to a relatively lower rep range - can be just as beneficial for calves as any other bodypart.

Something to consider is that getting a good contraction in the calves is generally key to growth, and that can get tricky when you start getting into super-heavy weights (again, just like many other bodyparts).

One method I like to use is supersetting flat-foot (on the ground, not the step, so using a limited ROM) heavy raises with full ROM/deep stretch lighter raises.

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Is it just me or do most people at the gym use an inappropriate weight for calf raises? I don’t have huge calves or anything but I’m bigger/stronger (at least by a little bit) than most people in my gym and it literally seems like everyone uses x2 or more the weight I do on calf raises. The seated calf machine only holds so many 45s so if your a skinny high school kid doing 3-4 plates what are people with big calves supposed to use on it?

full ROM


Full range of motion, squeeze at the top. I’m picturing those with a bunch of plate raising it 1" over and over really fast while bragging “this is so easy, dude”.

I honestly didn’t know that ANY coaches advocated light weights with calves. Much less ‘most of them’. So I think this observation is likely incorrect in the first place.

IF I was to train calves, I would treat them the way I do my back, which is to use very taxing weights, AND do high reps, because those muscles are capable of completing many reps at high percentages of a person’s 1RM.

I do not believe that following a set ‘progressive overload’ model is necessary, but training heavy would certainly be beneficial. I don’t chase weights on any accessory movement, primarily because gains are so minimal from session to session that you generally CAN’T chase weights.


More people need to see this.

Read T-nation’s best of calves article and you’ll see.

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Tim Henriques was the only author out of like 6 in that article who suggested relatively light loads, and that was in the context of huge volume. Others talked about things like doing work for time, controlled movement, and heavy weights. Did you even read the entire article?

Sorry, what I meant was this article instead.

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