Large calves may be at least partly down to genetics – you’ll find that some people who ride bikes get huge calves as a result, whereas pro cyclists tend to have very lean ones, albeit lean like a length of coiled steel. If you’re not one of the Big Calf Men, even if you employ the best leg exercises, you are likely to find that even as your thighs balloon, your calves stay looking remarkably unworked. But don’t have a cow; we are here to help with your calves.
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Top 3 tips to train your calves
There is a point after months of fruitless sessions on the calf press machine when you decide it is time to look into the subject a bit more. I will tell you a secret: there is a way to actually work out your calves and make progress. I wish someone told me this before; I would have the monstrous calves of a young Arnie by now.
1. Up the rep range
We have all been told the best rep range for muscle growth is 8-12 reps per set. It is all well for most muscle groups, but not for calves. Calves are one of the few muscles you use every day to literally lift your whole bodyweight, so they are accustomed to excessive training.
In order to put some extra pressure on these muscles, try doing 15 reps per set. This will activate the muscles more, something you will feel after each set and definitely the day after, so consider investing in a Theragun percussive massager.
2. EVERY day is calves day
Want bigger calves? Do calf raises every single time you are in the gym. It is easy to sneak in a calf raise exercise at the end of each session in the gym. Just hit the calf press after you’ve finished working on your pecs.
You will find the calf press machine in the corner of the gym that nobody visits. It is the mythical land Mufasa mentions to Simba in The Lion King; the part over the mountains the sun never touches. So hopefully you won’t have to queue.
3. Tiptoe is the way to go
It’s also simple to work on your calves when you train other muscle groups. If you ever do an exercise that involves standing up, just go up on your tiptoes and super-set that exercise with calf raises.
Just think about it: you are half-repping standing hammer bicep curls already with those 20 kg dumbbells in your hands. You might as well do a full-rep with 40 kg on your calves. Easy-peasy.
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