Just a quick reminder that nutrition is also key to all weight training. Getting enough protein and enough calories will ultimately determine whether your calves will grow or not. Period.

If you neglect protein requirements and do not get enough overall calories (calorie surplus) then this guide will be a waste of time.

If you are in a calorie surplus and getting enough calories… read on!

There are a few points I need to point out first.

  • Always full range of motion. You have no idea how many guys I see in the gym that fail to complete a rep at full range of motion on the seated calf raise machine. You are only cheating yourself on potential gains. Remember: dip those heels as deep as possible, all the way down. And push those heels as high as possible.
  • Calves MUST be trained directly. Unless you are happy with your calves, they will need to be trained directly using calf-specific training. Just doing squats, lunges, etc to build your legs is not enough for calf development.

The Workout

Honestly, the exercise list for calf training is extremely short. All I do is the following and have found incredible growth with my own calves over the years (image above are my calves!)

The key is to consistently train them! Calves can recover very quickly so I suggest training them a minimum of twice per week, maximum three times per week. It sounds like a lot. But the great thing about calf training is you can tack them onto your legs day, or any other day (i.e., chest, shoulders, back, etc)

Summary of what I have been doing for the past few years with my calf training:

  • Train calves 2–3 times per week
  • One day of minimum rest between calf training sessions
  • 3 minutes rest between sets
  • 5–7 reps per set
  • 6–8 sets per workout

The Exercise List

You’ll be able to watch a demonstration video for each exercise by clicking on the clickable link.

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My Typical Calf Training Routine

Always starting with Warm-Up sets at a lower weight before moving into my working sets of my first exercise.

  1. Standing Calf Raises

Once I complete the 3–4 warm-up sets for my calves. I jump straight into the “work” sets

4 sets @ 5 to 7 reps each (with 3 minutes rest between sets)

(You will do about 28 repetitions on your calves for this exercise)

2. Seated calf raises

No need to do a dynamic warm-up as you’ve done them already.

4 sets @ 5 to 7 reps each (with 3 minutes rest between sets)

That’s it. This is sufficient volume to really build your calves. Seriously. Remember — you must be consistent. Just applying this programming whenever you feel like it or whenever the mood strikes you, won’t cut it.

Consistent implementation over time will yield impressive results. Give it 3 months and those calves will turn into diamonds 🙂

My Closing Thoughts

You only need to do two calf exercises per workout session. So you can select any two from the list above and apply the same programming that I suggest.

You can switch the order around. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes I start with seated calf raises, sometimes with standing calf raises.

Some trainers suggested toes pointing inwards, forward, and outwards to really “hit” the calves. Personally, this was something I have tried in the past for several months and didn’t notice much difference beyond just keeping my toes facing forward (parallel to each other).

Don’t try and overload with too much weight and sacrifice with lack of full range of motion. Most guys do this. “Bouncing” the weight on your knees with very little to no contraction in the calves, will do nothing to build calves. You are just wasting your time.

Don’t be like everyone else.

If it means dropping the weight down enough to really push the 6–7th rep, at full range of motion (watch the demonstration videos to see what I mean), then you WILL see growth. Just keep protein nice and high, get enough calories, rest those calves for a minimum of 24 hours, and then rinse and repeat.

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