T Nation

Pencil Calves


I normally post in the powerful women section, but I thought this question might be more appropriately posed here.

I have been powerlifting for the last three months, and in that period of time developed some awesome thighs. However, my calves, which have always been small in comparison, have no progressed nearly as much.

My routine involves seated calf raises (about 4 sets of 8) standing one-leg calf raises (4 sets of 15) and I just added weighted standing calf raises.

What do you recommend I do to quickly increase my calf size? What programs or tricks have worked for you?


Quickly increase calf size?




This worked wonders for me



Yes, your calves can grow, but unless you were gifted with huge ones to begin with, it will take quite a bit of time and even then they will more than likely never look like those of people who didn't even have to train them to get them to 17" and bigger.

I train mine daily and while they have improved greatly from the toothpicks I had in high school, they still are my worst body part.

I alternate between seated and standing calf raises most training sessions as the first thing I do.


I rarely employ an EOD high/low (high weight low reps: 10-15) and low/high (low weight high reps 25-30) routine for calves. Good stretch at the bottom and peak at the top. If you can walk the day after, you didn't do it right. lol



Calves are the hardest muscle to develop. Either you are gifted with them or work REALLY REALLY hard on them to see minimal gains.

Arnold once said it take 500 hours of calve training to get them into decent shape.

That being said if you do plan on undertaking this endeavor You need to start working them daily, or at least every other day. Heavy weight.


Many notice that higher volume works better for calves. Go heavier on the standing calf raises 6-10 reps. Really squeeze at the top and stretch at the bottom. Then still go heavy on the seated raises but shoot for 20+ reps.

After this I walk on the treadmill at 3.5mph at full incline for 10-15 mins...nice pump and really fries the calves.


what he said.

btw girls with nice calves are hot, although it will be wasted on Oleena.


Hey Prof X since you are carrying a significant amount of body weight and you are training them I would imagine your are pretty big, being 250lb+

I always see overweight people with HUGE calves..I always though if you weighed enough you have to have big calves.


i also heard posting naked pics is good for your calves




Hear that X?

The boys think you can eke out a bit more development.


i think those people were always fat though

they were probaly very heavy even as infants and children. if my memory serves me right muscles theres a huge neruological transformation during early infancy where not just mental but physcial specializations are made so if you learn to walk early, are heavier than average when you learn to walk, or just have those specific genetics, you may have good calves.

im not even sure if this process occurs during the same time as walking though so dont take my word nesecerialy.

but either way, if youre a heavy kid then heavy teenager you have years and years and years of having your calves support weight all day long.

i definately training with heavy weight and probaly a lot of volume and frequency is the best way to develop calves.

i think the heavy weight may be the most important factor though, if you look at it anatomically youll see forearms are the upper body counterpart to calves and from my experience my forearms blew up just from holding heav weight so i figure since A) most fat people have big calfs (heavy weight under tension) B) forearms responding to heavy weight under tension the best way to train calves would be to use a lot of weight and a lot of tension even as far as to say to incorporate heavy static holds.


Thats what I thought! I've been carrying around 270+ lbs for several months now and I do not have the "fat man" calves....that was part of my plan :frowning:

I like the DC approach for calves, explode up, do a slow negative, emphasize the stretch at the bottom for 10-15 seconds and continue.


Can't beat "fat man" calves.


Have you still been playing around with that 'walking on your toes all the time' experiment?


I wonder what would happen if I just walked around with a weighted vest for a while? (in addition to a german volume training program for the calves, and then continue to wear the vest while doing a kick ass incline treadmill session)


I nearly forgot about the static holds! Those worked overnight on my biceps. I will add them to the "cow calf" program (I know, that was shameless...)


lower reps heavier weight


I wonder what would happen if I just walked around with a weighted vest for a while? (in addition to a german volume training program for the calves, and then continue to wear the vest while doing a kick ass incline treadmill session)

well that sounds extremely shitty, i think you should just go with really heavy weight for 15, 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 4 thatll fry them, or any other part of your body

i hit that with shoulders some days, and my delts will be exploding, its nice :slight_smile: