Last Updated on January 7, 2021
Attack this stubborn muscle to add some serious size to your lower legs.
Some people are born into money. Some people are born with amazing intellect. And then there are those that have been blessed with massive calves. Don’t you just hate those people. Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I certainly envy those bodybuilders that rarely need to do a calf raise and yet display thickly developed muscle from knee to ankle.
And there are plenty of those guys (and gals) out there. The real kicker being that some of them might not be bodybuilders or even give a second thought to their calves at all. However, with that said, lack of genetics is not always the culprit when it comes to having less-than-impressive calves. Much of the time it is also because they are trained as an afterthought rather than a major muscle.
So if your parents did not pass down the “Mike Matarazzo calf gene” that does not mean you cannot still build formidable amounts of muscle in your lower leg. Sometimes it’s the hardest and smartest workers that actually come out ahead of the genetically gifted. If you are either ignoring calves, or only throwing a couple of lazy sets in for each at the end of your workouts, it is time to start treating the area below knees with some more respect.
GOING AFTER CRAZY CALVES
The calves are for most, quite resistant to growth. Every time you take a step the calves are activated, and are burdened with carrying around your bodyweight all day long. This means that you must attack the calves fiercly if they are to have any reason to increase in size and strength. Conventional training simply will not do when it comes to calves, so I have listed below 6 unique methods for sending a wake-up call to those stubborn calf muscle fibers.
1. For a period of 2-4 weeks train your calves on a daily basis before returning to your normal program. Use about 4-6 sets per workout, using a different exercise each day.
2. Every night before you go to bed do a set of 100 slow, hard-squeezing standing calf raises with just your bodyweight, on top of your normal program. Go for maximum burn!
3. Wherever it is possible, walk around on your tiptoes rather than your flat feet. Ballet dancers often have awesome calves.
4. Every time you encounter a staircase do a calf raise up each step. On the way down, step onto the ball of your foot, as this will act almost like a plyometric movement for your calves.
5. Try 2 calf workouts per week, one with very heavy weights for sets of 4-6 reps and one with very light weights for sets of 25-50 reps. This will attack fibers that you probably have not been hitting with conventional workouts.
6. Do like Arnold did and train calves in your bare feet (if your feet can handle it). This will increase the range of motion for any calf movement, and will force a very intense contraction.
Do not use all of these methods at once, or your calves could end up over-trained, which will of course not contribute to growth. Pick 2 or 3 items from the above list and change things up every few weeks.