Calf development seems to be more dependent on genetics than any other muscle group. Even top bodybuilders can struggle to build their calves. There are, however, effective strategies for maximizing your calves’ genetic potential.

The gastrocnemius has two heads: the medial (or inner) head and the lateral (or outer) head. Research has shown that you can shift the emphasis on either head by rotating your foot position in or out when doing standing calf raises. Inward rotation preferentially activates the inner head. Rotating the feet outward preferentially activates the outer head.

For full calf development, use all three foot positions either in the same workout or alternate each time you train calves.


Standing Calf Raise (toes in): 3 sets, 12–15 reps

Standing Calf Raise (toes out): 3 sets, 12–15 reps

Standing Calf Raise (toes straight): 3 sets, 12–15 reps