Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Today we are going to talk about a very serious affliction that me, and most guys, suffer from: calves that don’t grow. Without any doubt, calves are the hardest body part to develop. Doesn't matter what you do, it seems like they just don't grow.
However, the truth is that you calves actually have a good growth potential, you just need to train them properly. And the first step to train them properly and to make your calves growth, is prioritizing them.
Although genetics play a huge role in calves development, they definitely won’t grow if they are not a priority in your workout plan. If your calves are not growing, chances are it is because you are not training them enough and you are not training them properly. This includes intensity, exercise selection, frequency and weight.
Most people just do 4 sets of 12 reps of calves raises and expect them to grow. This may work with your arms, or your chest, but it definitely won’t work with your calves.
Your calves are composed by two muscles: the soleus and the gastrocnemius. They are in constant action, since every time you take a step, you do calf raise. So if you get to the gym just to do a few calves raises, you might as well not train calves at all. They need to receive a stimulus they’re not used to, and that can only be achieved by really put them to work.
In today’s post, I’m going to share with you some of the techniques and tips that have helped me take my humongously small calves to my not so humongously small calves ;)
LITTLE TO NO REST
This has been key for me. And when I say little rest I mean in between sets, not that you should train calves every day. Resting 20, 30 - 45 secs max in between sets, compared to the 90 – 120 seconds rest that I do for the rest muscle groups has really allowed me to increase the intensity of my calves training. Remember that your calves are constantly working during your day, so they are used to have less rest than the rest of your body parts. Besides, the impact that training calves has on your CNS (central nervous system) is nothing compared to the impact of any compound movement so, if you need to rest in between sets while training calves it should be because you can’t take the burn anymore. Keep that in mind while training.
Related to the previous point, drop sets are the perfect way to add a lot of intensity and take your calves training to the next level. In my case, my favorite exercise to do drop sets is standing calves raises.
I pick a heavy weight, I perform 20 reps, drop the weight, perform 15 reps, drop the weight once more, and perform 10 reps. That is a set. Perform 4 – 5 with 20 – 30 secs in between sets. Try it and feel the burn!!
You can use pause reps, play with tempo, triple sets, super sets, whatever you want. As long as you are increasing the intensity of your calves workouts, that is what matters.
FULL RANGE OF MOTION
I don’t know why but this seems so hard to understand for a lot of people lol when you do calves raises, GO FULL RANGE OF MOTION. STRETCH ALL THE WAY DOWN AND PUSH ALL THE WAY UP.
Do not half rep calves raises… if you want them to grow just don’t. Let’s say until now you were training calves twice a week, doing each day just 4 sets of 12 reps on any calves raises machine. If on top of that, you are just bouncing the weight… you really keep wondering why your calves don’t grow?
Full contraction, slow negative, and a full stretch. This way you maximize your time under tension, increasing the total work of your calves. That is the way to go, with your calves, and with any other muscle group.
TRAIN ALL THE MUSCLES IN YOUR CALVES
As I’ve mentioned above, your calves are composed by 2 primary muscles: the gastrocnemius, that makes the inner and outer head of your calves, and the soleus, located underneath the gastrocnemius.
The gastrocnemius are activated when your knees are locked out (when doing standing calves raises for example), while the soleus activates when your knees are bent (when doing a seated calves raises for example). So, make sure you use different exercises and angles to hit both muscles and maximize growth.
TRAIN THEM MORE FREQUENTLY
There is not much explanation needed here. You want them to grow? Train them more often.
The more often you train, the more growth stimulus your muscles are going to have. If you train calves twice a week, this means you are breaking the muscle fibers located in your calves twice a week, instead of once. They are regenerating twice a week instead of one, and they will have a growth stimulus twice a week, instead of once. And the same with any other muscle group.
Want your calves to grow? Train more often!
Again, genetics play a huge role in calves, BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t make them grow. You just need to train them properly and patience… a lot of patience ;)
That’s it for today’s post!! If you have any doubt, question, suggestion or constructive critic, please do not hesitate to let it in the comments section or use my social media.
And don’t forget to share the post!
See you in the next one! :)