Bodybuilding.com Information Motivation Supplementation
in:

A Killer Guide To Building Massive Calves!

The most stubborn and hard to develop body part for most bodybuilders is definitely a pair of diamond shaped calves. Want bigger calves? You got it! Use the suggestions and workout below to build freaky calves!

The most stubborn and hard to develop body part for most bodybuilders is definitely a pair of diamond shaped calves. Even at the professional level, a great pair of calves is seldom seen on stage.

I think there are a few reasons why this is the case, especially in today's bodybuilders as opposed to bodybuilders from the past.

Firstly, the top reason that calves elude so many people is simply stated; a lack of effort and an equal lack of understanding just what the calves need to stimulate growth in the area. The majority of trainees tack on a few sloppy half hearted and half @ssed sets at the end of their quad session and then whine about how their calves won't respond and that it's just not in the cards for them to ever have a pair of impressive lower legs.

The key is to use a full range of motion, varied rep ranges, stretching between sets, short rest periods, and lots of intensity techniques. You see a ton of guys in the gym using a veritable ton of weight on calf movements, but they are usually doing a half @ssed bobbing kind of motion where the body does most of the moving with no ankle flexion. Go all the way up and all the way down on every rep, and when you can do no more full reps, do half reps until you can't stand the pain, then do a few more.

Supersets, Drop Sets, and Giant Sets are killer and will help make 'em grow fast. Be intense and work hard, with a full range of motion, and lots of stretching, and they will grow. Another thing is to treat them like any other body part, if you do 12 sets for chest, and tack on only a measly 4 sets for calves, you aren't working hard enough or smart enough for that matter.

Victor Martinez - Calves Training

Watch The Video - 28:01


I'd do 10-15 sets once a week, and 5-8 sets lighter on another day of the week, depending on your training experience. I have heard many people say that they can't build their calves because they are a hard dense muscle and no matter what they do the calves do not respond. I think that most people approach calf development in the wrong way. After training for many years, and observing a ton of trainees, in a ton of different gyms, I have come to the conclusion that you have to really shock the calves in almost every training session.

I see people doing calves while using the whole weight stack on Standing Calf Raises and just barely moving the weight, with a hopping/bobbing motion of the body. Granted you should train as heavy as possible most times, to stimulate growth, but you must always use a full range of motion, especially on calves, as they are one of the tougher body parts to build for most people, even with correct training.

Standing Calf RaiseStanding Calf Raise

An old friend of mine Barry Krimski, who won several world arm wrestling championships in the mid-late 70's, once told me I would never be able to build up my calves. Now, I feel my calves are in proportion, and are one of my best body parts. Here are a few of the things I would recommend to get your own "Cows" and a few sample routines I use.

Calf Building Recommendations

  • Always get a full range of motion during the exercise.
  • Keep the calves guessing by doing different workouts at every training session. The calves adapt to training easier than most muscles.
  • Use different intensity techniques, such as Supersets, Drop Sets, Tri-sets.
  • Always stretch the calves between sets.
Calf Building Routines
  • Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises

    Standing Calf Raises

    4 sets
  • Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

    Seated Calf Raise

    4 sets
  • Donkey Calf Raises Donkey Calf Raises

    Donkey Calf Raises

    4 sets
  • Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine

    Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine

    4 sets

I like to set up 4 - 5 machines and go through the sets without stopping, for as many reps as possible per machine. Do a set of each for as many reps as possible, without resting between sets, add a little weight to each machine, stretch them out on a high block of wood between Giant Sets, and go again repeating this for 3-4 cycles. The next day your calves will let you know that they felt the routine.

Another technique is to Superset two movements, such as seated calf raises and standing calf raises. Do 5 sets of each, adding weight each set. At times you should go lighter, and at other times heavy. Another tactic that I use quite often and find very effective is to do half reps to failure once, until I can no longer perform any more full range reps. This takes the calves into a pain zone that they have never experienced before and extends the set far beyond what you could normal do, which will result in adding more mass to the calves.

I go as high as 50 reps, at times and as low as 6-8 reps, always in good form with no bouncing. Try some of these suggestions and you may get a couple of cows of your own.


Bookmark and Share

Related Articles

About The Author

Tim is a competitive bodybuilder who has been competing for decades and now offers his take on training and diet!

RATE THIS ARTICLE
POOR
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
EXCELLENT
OVERALL RATING
8

Out of 10
Excellent
32 Ratings

4

Comments

Showing 1 - 4 of 4 Comments

(5 characters minimum)

      • notify me when users reply to my comment
paul3nl

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
paul3nl

Would you recommend any variation for someone who runs 4-5 days per week (2-4 miles per day)?

May 17, 2012 9:51am | report
 
keltalon

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
keltalon

How often should the calves be worked in a week time and recommended rest periods?

Jun 17, 2012 6:01pm | report
 
TinyTerrorTrina

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
TinyTerrorTrina

This was a great article to read! These exercises along with running would make for killer calves!

Oct 5, 2012 11:52am | report
 
crazymango

Rep Power: 0

  • rep this user
crazymango

Thanks for the tips this is probably one of the most use calf article out there

Nov 4, 2012 7:53pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 Comments

Featured Product

Give Us Feedback:
Report A Problem
Site Feedback
Follow Us:
Twitter
Facebook
RSS Feeds
Bodybuilding.com Newsletter

Receive exciting features,
news & special offers from Bodybuilding.com