One Move For Big Calves: Standing Calf Raise.

Your legs are not complete unless the calves are also in great shape! One move that will help most is the standing calf raise. Use this exercise with any of the following methods and watch them grow.

When it comes to leg training most of the features cover the quadriceps and hamstrings. These are the bigger muscle groups so it makes sense. However the legs have not reached maximum development unless below them thighs are a great pair of calves.

The calves are used often because we need them to walk, climb, run and everything else involving stepping. Therefore you can train them more often than the quads or hamstrings. That does not mean you should hit them every day but twice a week or for some people three times a week is okay.

The Calves Are Used Very Often Because We Need Them To Walk, Climb, Run, And Everything Else Involving Stepping
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The Calves Are Used Very Often Because We Need Them To Walk,
Climb, Run And Everything Else Involving Stepping.

Which Exercise Is Best?

There are different ways to train the calves and they are all great but the one that may be best is the standing calf raise. You are standing and you can use more weight than you can in a seated position. Reg Park showed Arnold Schwarzenegger a long time ago that each calf takes all of your weight each time you can take a step so between them both they can handle up to twice your bodyweight. You shouldn't go load up a bunch of weight and try to start doing calf raises yet. Learn how to do them first then work your way up to doing that. Speaking of which, let's learn how to do it now.

How To Perform The Standing Calf Raise

Adjust the padded lever of the Calf Raise Machine to fit your height. Place your shoulders under the pads provided and position your toes facing forward (or using any of the two other positions described at the beginning of the chapter). The balls of your feet should be secured on top of the calf block with the heels extending off it. Push the lever up by extending your hips and knees until your torso is standing erect. The knees should be kept with a slight bend; never locked. Toes should be facing forward, outwards or inward as described at the beginning of the chapter. This will be your starting position.

Place Your Shoulders Under The Pads Provided And Position Your Toes Facing Forward
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Place Your Shoulders Under The Pads Provided
And Position Your Toes Facing Forward.

Raise your heels as you breathe out by extending your ankles as high as possible and flexing your calf. Ensure that the knee is kept stationary at all times. There should be no bending at any time. Hold the contracted position by a second before you start to go back down. Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in by lowering your heels as you bend the ankles until calves are stretched.

Standing Calf Raises
Standing Calf Raises
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Standing Calf Raises

Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

There are other variations of the Standing Calf Raise that you can use if your gym doesn't have a station like this one. For other ways to do the standing calf raise check out the Exercise Database.

Training Calves

Now that you have an idea of how to do them let's make some programs to help you build those calves into steers that will make you want to walk around in shorts all year round.

Dramatic Transformation Principle

This was created by the author of Body by Design, Kris Gethin. DTP is quick, intense and will not only help you build those lower leg muscles. It will also serve as a good cardio workout too. 12 sets with only 45 seconds rest is all it takes to get through DTP. You do a total of 310 reps.

The rep scheme ranges from 50 down to 5 and then you go from 5 back to 50. This is a crazy workout and the pump will make it addicting to do over and over again. If the pump doesn't push you the results will.

  • Standing Calf Raise: 12 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,5,5,10,20,30,40,50 reps, with 45 seconds rest in between sets


Best known as the founder of Evogen Nutrition and trainer to the bodybuilding stars, Hany Rambod designed FST-7 and it is used and covered all over the world. Seven sets of 8-12 reps with 30-45 seconds rest between each set pumps nutrient rich blood in the muscle you are training and stretch the fascia of the muscle so you have room to achieve new muscle growth. You can do the sevens either at the end or at the beginning of the workout.

FST-7 Program:

  • Calf Exercise 1: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. 90 seconds rest.
  • Standing Calf Raise: 7 sets of 8-12 reps, 30-45 seconds rest

FST-7 Reverse:

  • Standing Calf Raise: 7 sets of 8-12 reps, 30-45 seconds rest
  • Calf Exercise 1: 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, 90 seconds rest

German Volume Training

It is not something regularly done for calves but if you want to blast them this way works. German Volume Training has been used in gyms and athletic centers all over the world for decades.

There is more than one version of GVT but the plan for this is basic. You choose a weight and go for 10 sets of 10 reps. You should rest from 90 seconds to 2 minutes between sets. If you can't get all 10 sets of 10 then you use the same weight next time you train delts. If you do succeed then you use heavier weight on your next trip to the gym.

  • Standing Calf Raise: 10 sets of 10 reps, with 90-120 seconds rest between sets

The 100 Workout

This workout will be different but once you get used to doing it you should like it. You pick a weight that is moderate in effort for you to use. Go for as many reps as you can until you reach failure. You go for as many reps as you can and once you hit failure you rest for the number of seconds it takes to get to a total of 100. Let's say you got 35 reps on your first set as an example. You rest for 65 seconds before continuing (35 + 65 = 100).

Once you finish resting you do another set until you reach failure again. Say you get 25 more this time. You take that 25 and add the previous 35 for 60 total reps. You now rest for 40 seconds (60 + 40 = 100). Now you do a third set and get 20 so now you are up to 80 total reps. That means you rest for only 20 seconds. This process continues until you get to 100 total reps.

The 100 Workout Example: Standing Calf Raise

  • Set 1: 35 reps with 65 seconds rest
  • Set 2: 25 reps (60 total) with 40 seconds rest
  • Set 3: 20 reps (80 total) with 20 seconds rest
  • Set 4: 15 reps (95 total) with 5 seconds rest
  • Set 5: 5 reps. (100 total)

One More Tip

Once you master Calf Training 101 you can do these workouts with a slight twist ... of your feet. If you turn the toes in you train the outside of your calves. This works the other way also. Turn the calves outward to focus on the inner part of the calf.

If You Turn The Toes In You Train The Outside Of Your Calves
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If You Turn The Toes In You Train The Outside Of Your Calves.


Calf training is about quality as much if not more so than quantity. If you are not training them right they won't grow. Train them right and you will want to cut the legs off of your pants to show them off. Don't do it though. Just buy shorts.