T Nation

Tiny Calves


I was recently told my calves don't belong to the rest of my leg but to a stick person...I know. I've tried but they just don't grow

any suggestions?





You probably don't work them often enough and/or with enough intensity.

My calves didn't start growing until I started working them with concentration camp intensity. Technique is also important. Read up on proper toe positioning and I'd recommend working your calves without shoes. The arch support actually takes some of the load away (which you don't want). You won't be able to do the same weight without shoes but you should notice a pretty big difference

One other mistake I made was to get in a rut and just work them with seated raises only or standing only. It wasn't until I started to mix it up before they grew

My calves were 16" when I started and they're now 17.5" -- but they're still too damn small... And it is frustrating as hell.


Divide and Conquor....

Mine didn't grow until I split my Gastroc and Solei workouts. This way it's not an afterthought when you're already toasted from squating. I do straight knee calf raises after my chest session, and seated calves after my upper leg session.

(Older pic, before my current prep)



Stu that's one of the freakier soleus I've seen lol.


I am going to steal john roman's calves. anyone wanna help?


I guess that's a lot of intensity, probably not the kind I would use with an analogy.


be happy yours aren't like mine....15inches

your growth from 16 to 17.5, how long did that take?


Sure u can grow your calves little by little but its more genetics in my opinion.

I harldy train calves at all.Im 6'4 and my dad has big calves and he has never done a calf raise in his life.

I ended up with my mothers anorexic ankles and my dad's big calves so even though they are 17-18 inches they look so much bigger.

But out of all the seated calf raises and donkey calf raises etc etc the best exercise ive ever known for calves is running in the soft sand at the beach.All the different angles in stresses your calves is great,Just not up and down like doing calves in the gym. So get in the sand and run.


Why do fat people have such beastly ass calves?


High volume with heavy weight. :wink:


train the shit outta them like arni did.. calves were always his weak spot and thats y he used to take a lot of pics posing in knee deep water when he was younger.. his calves later became one of his best body parts... just make calves a priority and be brutal!!


I wish I got a dollar each time I read this story.

No offence intended, ebraunschweiler


i know right... just thought id throw it in there before someone else did... hehe :slight_smile:


my arms are bigger than my calves...its pathetic

I've always been jealous of the calves of fat guys...hundreds of reps of 300 lbs a day will make them big (walking)


and yet that's now what we hear to do for any other muscle lol

I don't know about that. There was an article on this site talking about it showing him as a teen (like 19-20 maybe) and him in his prime and honestly they didn't look much better, he was just posing better and had a little added size overall


I'm pretty sure Arnold told that story himself in the Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding.


I've been embarrased by mine all of my life (I'm 50)and until recently thought there was nothing I could do about the genetics. I did a lot of downhill skiing as a kid and had big quads and the skinny calves (they must have been all of 12 inches at best) made my legs look worse. I had girlfriends in college laugh at my "bird legs".

Screw that.

Two years ago I started bombing them hard at least twice a week with heavy weight and they've started growing. I've found that seated calf raises, calve presses on the incline leg press machine, and toe raises in the Smith machine are working wonders. I'm now using weight in the 3 to 475lb range on the toe raises and leg presses. Seated raises with at least 180lbs. I know that's light for some of the guys here, but I've been working up to it. Do reps until you are certain you won't be able to walk, then do some more.

I'm still not happy with mine but at least I'm getting some size and symmetry which motivates me to keep adding weight and pushing harder. Don't wait as long as I did. Just do it.


About 5-6 months. They were growing pretty steady about 1/16" every week. But unfortunately I've plateaued for the last 2 months so I gotta change something up

Edit: Forgot to mention (although not that important) that I stopped training calves on leg days because after pounding my quads and hams my energy and intensity was usually spent so my calf training suffered. I moved calves to their own day and/or trained then with smaller muscle groups (i.e. arms, shoulders)


Yea I think he did but I'm going on what I saw in the pics. I wish I could remember the article but they really don't look much different.

I'm not doing a lot with calves now and I think I'll just do what I can to maintain them now that I've begun cutting but once I start gaining again I'm definitely going to hit them much harder. I can't believe I ever stopped working them, even if it was for a short time.

By the way how much have your calves grown over the last 2 years?