T Nation

Training Calves


Hi to all
i need some "good" hint on calves training.

calves are a "friendly" muscle for me.
it works nice and develope quite good...
so i want more from it!
which kind of training (in the gym) you perform?

usually my training is something like:
standing calf (high volume training.. at least 100-120reps)
sitting calves (3-4 set of non more than 6reps.. very high weight here...)

i try this kind of job and it works well .. but i need more :).. which kind of training you perform?


Something i always do is to change my foot position. If you do 2 exercises for calves, do one of them with your toes pointed inward, and one of the exercises with toes out. You'll feel a big difference in where the contraction is happening.

Another exercise i've tried is to just stand and hop up and down (no weight) using your calf muscles to propel you. Do this for as long as you can and you'll work your calves like you won't believe.


i do the same exercize (bur with weight)
i found it great.

i have also found some nice tip (about foot and knee position) in the last Poliquin articles on harmstring


If your calves are already well developed already, why do you keep emphasizing them? Why not emphasize a lagging body part. That seems smarter to me.


I could be wrong but I believe that standing calf raises hit the gastrocs more and the seated ones work the soleus harder. If that is indeed the case, then I would switch the high volume work to the seated calf raise since the soleus is usually slow twitch dominant and use the heavy low-rep work on the standing raise because the gastroc is fast twitch dominant.

Chad Waterbury also recommends a dorsiflexion exercise to keep the calves growing. There are machines for this or you can sit on a bench with your legs extended and "curl" a dumbell with your toes, that is, flex your feet up towards you so you feel it in the front of your shin.

Also, incline walking of course.


A nice tip I picked up from one of CW's articles was,

"Certain stubborn muscle groups such as the calves are extremely efficient at storing potential energy during the reversal contraction phase. So, if you want to build bigger calves, you must force them to work harder and not "cheat" with this stored energy. Therefore, it's often recommended to hold a calf stretch for 5 seconds before performing a concentric contraction."

That helped me quite a bit as I stuggle to give the calves a good workout.


You're better off doing the low-volume, high intensity work first, then the high rep stuff (though several hundred is excessive - 20-25, maybe upwards of 30 would work much better for one set). They'll grow better with a more substantial load.

Standing will use both the soleus and the gastroc. Seated will use the soleus. Use as appropriate.



When performing a calf exersise pause for a second or two in the down/relaxed position. This minimizes the rubber band efect of the achilles tendon. It makes the exercise harder and more efective.