Of Quads & Calves

My quads are always receptive to about any training strategy I throw at them both in size and strength. Same with the hamstrings and posterior chain. My upper legs are pretty big and strong. If only my calves could / would keep pace.

The calves are not grossly out of proportion, they simply don’t grow in proportion to other muscles.

Over the years I’ve tried many different ideas, rep and set schemes, intensity levels, etc. I generally work the calves the same as other body parts which over the course of the year will include (in a nutshell) work for speed, power and hypertrophy. I place emphasis on one or the other but work all three together to some degree.

Right now a typical lower leg workout my look like this:

standing calf raises:
One drop set 270 x 10 full reps drop to 200 for 10 more with a full 30 second streth on the last rep.

Bent knee calf raises(I dont have a seated calf raise machine):
2 sets of as many reps as possible with about 270 lbs.

toe rock backs where I place the low pulley bar across my toes and pull the toes toward myself:
2 sets of as many as possible with about 100 lbs.

Sometimes I finish off with some plyometric jumping and I forgot to mention that I almost always warm up for a workout by skipping rope for about 5 minutes.

Even though my calves are pretty strong and perform well, how can I make those stubborn suckers grow?

The muscle bellies and attaching points on my lower legs are of average proportion. Not to high, not to low. I am convinced that there is growth potential because after working them they really get jacked up but an hour later…

not enough volume, reps are too high, you need to do a higher intensity for a couple of reps or more volume overall. also work them twice a week. laters pk

Start working your calves as often as possible with very high reps.

Soccer players, sprinters, and cyclists(even more so cyclists that work on short distance sprinting), have enormously developed calves.
I don’t feel much you do in the gym has a lot of impact on the way your calves look, unless you are genetically gifted or just beginning.(yes, yes, we all have seen some calf growth from training them in the gym)

In the gym very high reps(I’m talkin 50 +)might be a little unpractical, but doing hill sprints 2-3 times a week, or running in the dunes or sand, is great for calf development.

I don’t have sand available anywhere near me, so I often do my sprints without shoes on a grass field.

Works great.

Also, Brad Cordoza said this in his thread, making every stair count is big in terms of calf development.

Vary your sprints a little.

Then for short distance, then for a little longer.

Also, wear flat-footed shoes or none at all.(unless you’re running on concrete or a very hard surface)

Those new types of airshoes are great for catching the impact, but they take a lot of the effect of running away, and lengthen the distance between your heel and the ground.