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Level Up Your Calves

Hammer your calves with heavy-ass weight to grow this stubborn body part.

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Seated Calf Raise
Edgar Artiga
Seated Calf Raise
Edgar Artiga

For years, a lightweight, high-volume barrage has been considered the right formula for big calves. And considering that the calves—made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus—are worked every time you take a step, walk up the stairs, or stand on your tiptoes, it makes sense that they would need a lot of volume for them to respond and grow.

This straight up calf workout that we published four years ago follows that very dogma, with reps reaching well beyond 15. But to keep your muscles guessing, and for the sake of changing it up, we reworked this routine. The exercises don’t change much. Instead, this workout will have you lifting heavy weight, a stimulus your calves probably aren’t used to, in the 6- to 10-rep range. Form is still a priority. Make sure you achieve a full range of motion on every rep and also make sure you hold the contraction at the top. If you’ve been following the high-reps-on-calves dogma for years, this heavier, lower-rep workout should serve as some nice shock treatment for a muscle group that certainly needs it to grow.

Routine

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Straight Up Calves

Old Routine, as published in the March 2013 issue of M&F

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 4

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
3
Reps
10-15
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 2 of 4

Standing Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
3
Reps
30*
Rest
60 sec
*Incorporating dropsets to reach 30 reps per set.
Exercise 4 of 4

Donkey Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
--
Reps
50
Rest
60 sec

Level Up Calves

New Routine

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 5 of 4

Jump Rope

Equipment
Jump Rope
Sets
3
Reps
30 sec
Rest
--
Exercise 6 of 4

High Box Jump

Equipment
Box
Sets
3
Reps
5
Rest
30 sec
Exercise 8 of 4

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
4
Reps
6-8
Rest
60 sec
Exercise 9 of 4

Standing Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
3
Reps
10,8,8
Rest
60 sec
Perform the first set with your toes pointed straight ahead, the second set with your toes pointed outward, and the third set with your toes pointed inward.
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