Calves. They’re frustratingly hard to grow. Many a dude has been made fun of for having a jacked upper body paired with puny calves. Thousands of dollars spent on sweat pants and crew socks to cover your calves, but you can’t hide your shame.
I know the feeling all too well.
Why do so many of us have small calves? Is it ENTIRELY genetics, or is calf growth possible?
Well, genetics do play a BIG role in how much calf growth your capable of. You probably already know if you have good calf genetics or not. If not, you’re probably never going to have HUGE calves.
The good news: calf growth IS POSSIBLE, even with bad genetics.
It really comes down to putting in the work, and training ‘em consistently and correctly. Apply the following:
Frequency is important to bringing up ANY lagging muscle group. Calves aren’t any different.
Your calves already do a LOT throughout the day. They’re one of the primary muscles holding you upright when you walk. Since they already do so much throughout the day, growing your calves is going to take a significant amount of volume (volume = sets X reps X weight).
If you have weak calves like me, you need to be training them AT LEAST 3x/week to see any type of change.
If you’re truly dedicated to growing impressive calves, train ‘em for 10-15 minutes, 4-5x/week.
Range of motion & Control
I often see dudes pumping out hundreds of reps per set on the seated calf raise. Short range of motion, super quick reps.
There’s a few issues here:
Problem #1: Your calves need to be trained through the full range of motion.
Think about it.
Every time you take a step, you’re essentially doing a (very short range of motion) calf raise. So your calves are already EXTREMELY adapted to doing short range of motion reps.
Focus on training them through the FULL range of motion. All the way down, all the way up. Every single rep.
Problem #2: If you’re rushing through reps and basically dropping the weight from the top of reps, a lot of the work being done is the stretch reflex of the achilles tendon bouncing the weight back up from the bottom of the rep. We’re trying to train the calf muscles, NOT the achilles tendon. That’s why no one will remember your calves.
Train with slow, controlled reps. Pause at the bottom of EVERY rep and feel the calf stretch. This eliminate the achilles stretch reflex. Pause at the top of EVERY rep and contract the muscle as hard as you can.
Are you sick of wearing sweat pants and jeans all summer? Apply the above. I promise better days are ahead.