When it comes to calves, we gymgoers typically fall into one of two categories: those who are genetically blessed and have no need to train ‘em and those who train ‘em aggressively for years without serious progress. The tips that follow speak to the heart of the latter group—those who have tried, in earnest, to build bigger calves to no avail. Calves are a stubborn muscle group that tends to confound even the most zealous of trainers.

Jim Ryno, CPT, knows well the array first responses for desperate calf hardgainers: heavier weight, more reps, quirky exercises. That’s fine—those methods sometimes suffice. But here, Ryno dishes his five best tips for building calves worthy of those cargo shorts that you so love to sport in summer.