The calves are probably the most neglected body parts when it comes to building muscle. A lot of folks will work their legs (which is good) but they will often ignore the calves, creating a weird imbalanced look, especially if you have a big upper body and quads. The calves are also one of the hardest places to add muscle mass so unless you are genetically gifted with bigger calves, you’re going to have to suffer a little bit. Suffer, you say? Yes. If you’re not used to training calves, the first few days of soreness will be hell! The soreness can be so bad that it will interfere with your daily life, making it very uncomfortable to stand up and walk around but the good news is that the more you train, the better it gets.
Let’s build bigger calves
Do high reps
Myself and a lot of others have found that the calves don’t respond too well to heavy weight and low rep training like many other body parts. The calves are a very tiny muscle and therefore it is not necessary for them to be able to lift a lot of heavy weight. They actually respond better to a high rep range with low-medium weight. Think about it, when you walk, you actively engage your calves and therefore, they are working just about the whole day. That’s a lot of reps! Aim for around 100-200 total reps for your calf workout, really feel the burn!
Train them every other day
Since the calves are a very small muscle, they also have the ability to recover faster. If you feel that your growth has come to a halt, then you should try working them out every other day. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go to the gym specifically to train calves. You could do a 100 calf raises at the end of every workout, or you could just do standing bodyweight calf raises at any time throughout the day. Do them in your lunch break to get an exercise in during a lazy work day.
Try different exercises
You probably already know this but your bodyweight has an incredible ability to adapt. Therefore, it is important to do a variety of calf exercises. Yes, the calf raises are the most popular but there are a number of other non-traditional ways to pump up those calves. You could do things like: walk around the house on your tip-toes and jump on one leg for 50 reps and then switch legs. Be creative!