Workouts for the calves: Techniques for Developing the Frequently Resistant Muscle Group

Workouts for the calves

For many people, developing well-defined calf muscles might be a difficult task. It takes time, planning, and conscious work to increase muscle growth in the calves. Choosing the right exercises and completing the right amount of repetitions and sets are essential for developing your calves. This insightful article will provide you important tips on how to achieve this.


Strength training:

Exercise No. 1: GROWING A CALF

  • Plant the balls of your feet on the ground or a raised surface to achieve a greater range of motion. Ensure that your feet are hip-width apart and that your toes are pointed straight front.
  • Raise your heels till your toes are in contact with the ground. At the pinnacle of the exercise, squeeze your calves and hold the position for one or two seconds before lowering yourself gradually.
  • To increase your range of motion when utilizing a step, place your heels underneath the step’s surface.
  • Increase the intensity of the workout by adding weight by wearing a weighted vest, carrying a dumbbell or kettlebell, etc. Start with a starting weight that is 5–10% of your body weight and raise the weight by 5–10% each week.

Exercise No. 2: Press-Up Leg Camel Raising

  • Place your feet hip-width apart and face front on the platform while seated on the leg press machine. Make sure that just the balls of your feet are in contact with the platform by letting your heels hang off the bottom edge.
  • Without bending your knees, extend the platform away from your body and lower it so that your toes return to your shins. Stretch as far as the ankles will let.
  • Press through your foot balls to make the platform longer.
  • Repeat the exercise while maintaining proper form and posture.


  • To increase range of motion, stand with one leg on the floor or the ball of your foot on an elevated surface. Make sure the tips of your toes point directly forward.
  • Lift your heel till your toes are vertical. Squeeze the calves at the peak of the exercise, hold it for one or two seconds, and then descend gradually.
  • For a wider range of motion, place your heel below the step’s surface if you’re on one.
  • Boost the intensity by adding weight with a kettlebell, dumbbell, or by donning a weighted vest, among other methods. Weekly weight increases of 5–10% are possible (beginning with an addition of 5–10% of your body weight to the starting weight you wear or hold).

Exercise #4: Raising a seated lamb

  • With proper posture and your knees bent to a 90-degree angle, take a seat on a bench or on a sitting calf raise machine. With the toes pointing straight ahead, the feet should be hip-width apart.
  • Elevate your heels till your toes are visible. Squeeze the calves at the peak of the exercise, hold it for one or two seconds, and then descend gradually.
  • For a wider range of motion, drop your heels below the step’s surface if the machine permits it or if you’ve elevated your toes on something like a stack of plates.
  • Increase the intensity: Add weight by holding a weight in your lap or adding weight to the machine. Increase the weight by 5-10% weekly (starting by adding 5-10% of your body weight for the initial weight that you add).

Plyometric exercises: Plyometric exercises, like lunge jumps and jump rope, can also improve calf strength and muscle definition.

EXERCISE #5: LUNGE JUMPS: Initially, extend your arms backwards to assume a lunge position.

  • Lift off the ground quickly, pointing your toes as you do so.
  • Raise both legs in the air, land softly, and aim your feet, knees, and hips straight ahead.


Make deliberate, little leaps and maintain a modest bend in your knees. When you jump rope, keep your feet flat on the ground. For three sets, begin with intervals of 10 to 30 seconds, then increase. As you get more skilled, you can even try jumping one foot at a time.


The most frequent criticism of this muscle group’s training is that results are so elusive. The calves may grow just like any other muscle, and because we utilize them for walking every day, they are incredibly strong! Here are a few potential explanations for why you might not be getting the desired results:

utilizing an inadequate training volume. It won’t be sufficient to encourage muscle growth if you’re only performing a few sets per week. You should perform 4-5 sets of 6–12 reps, or more, depending on the load, for at least two weeks in order to achieve hypertrophy.

not moving in its entire range of motion. Your foot has 20 degrees of dorsiflexion (lifting) and 50 degrees of plantarflexion (pointing the toe) at the ankle. You may use your calf muscles to their maximum potential by moving your ankle through its full range of motion. If all you’ve done is floor-based calf rises, you might benefit from trying off a step to make use of this entire range of movements.

use the same workouts, repetitions, and sets. Our bodies are machines for adaptation! Your calves will eventually become accustomed to your regimen and require modifications to the weight, repetitions,and/or sets in order to maintain improvement.


It is advised that you workout your calves at least twice a week to witness muscular growth (Schoenfeld, et al. 2016). For optimal results, use two to three calf workouts per session. The following are the acute factors causing muscle hypertrophy: 6–12+ repetitions, 4–5 sets.

Instead of loading heavy weight for fewer reps, you might get better results with a higher rep range for the calves to maximize duration under tension and use the entire range of motion.


Though they are not the only muscles in the calf complex, the gastrocnemius and soleus are the two main actors when it comes to developing calf muscles.

Gastrocnemius: When observing the calves, the bulkier area that is most obvious is the gastrocnemius. The lateral head begins on the lateral condyle of the femur, which is located on the outside of the rear of the thigh bone, while the medial head begins on the femur’s medial condyle, which is located within the back of the thigh bone. It inserts through the Achilles tendon at the posterior calcaneus, or back of the heel. Knee flexion and plantar flexion are assisted by the gastrocnemius.

Soleus: The soleus is a long, flat muscle that attaches to the back of the heel, the posterior-superior tibia and fibula, in the lower leg. It joins the gastrocnemius at this point and inserts into the Achilles tendon at the posterior calcaneus. Additionally, the soleus is in charge of supporting the foot/ankle complex and causing plantar flexion.


Indeed! What comes to mind when you think of athletic movements are probably running, jumping, cutting, etc. Each of these motions necessitates the use of the calves in order to push off the feet and propel in a particular direction.

You will be able to exert greater power in these movements the stronger your calves are. In addition to protecting the foot/ankle complex during these exercises, having strong calves can help an athlete complete these motions more effectively. Remember that power training—as opposed to hypertrophy training, which just focuses on muscle growth—is necessary if you want to develop explosive power for sports.


Starting with bodyweight exercises is a terrific idea, especially if you include your entire range of motion in your calf workouts. Just doing this might have some effect, but in order to see ongoing benefits, you’ll need to keep modifying the acute factors (reps, sets, and weight).

Why is it so hard to build calves?

The feeling of not making any progress is one of the most frequent problems when training the calf muscles. Regarding their capacity for growth, calves and other muscles are not fundamentally dissimilar. We use them a lot in our daily lives, like walking, so they are naturally strong, which is why they could seem difficult to grow. Here are some possible explanations if the anticipated outcomes aren’t being achieved:

  1. Inadequate training volume: You could not be stimulating muscle growth if you’re only doing a few sets of intense exercise a week. It is advised to complete 6–12 or more repetitions (depending on the load) for 4-5 sets, at least twice a week, to encourage hypertrophy.
  2. Limited range of motion: Dorsiflexion, or elevating the foot, and plantarflexion, or pointing the toe, are the two ranges of motion available to the ankle joint. When you conduct calf workouts, you can enhance the amount of time your calf muscles are used by employing their whole range of motion. If you’ve only been doing calf raises from the floor, try doing them off a step. You will be able to employ your full range of motion and your performance may even increase as a result.
  3. Lack of variety in workouts: Because our bodies are so adaptive, continuing with the same exercises, repetitions, and sets may cause your growth to stagnate. It’s crucial to regularly modify the load, repetitions, and/or sets in your calf training regimen if you want to keep noticing improvements.


Research has shown that training calves at least twice a week is beneficial for promoting muscular growth (Schoenfeld, et al. 2016). Include two to three distinct calf exercises in each session for best results. Acute variables for muscle hypertrophy should consist of 6–12+ repetitions for 4-5 sets.

A higher rep range can be advantageous for the calves since it lengthens the time under strain and improves entire range of motion use. To get the most out of your calf development, think about combining greater reps with heavy weights instead of just concentrating on low reps.


The calf complex consists of more than just the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, although these two muscles play a prominent role in building calf muscles.

Gastrocnemius: The more noticeable part of the calf muscle is the gastrocnemius. The lateral head of the femur comes from the outside of the back bone of the thigh, referred to as the lateral condyle of the femur, whereas the medial head is located inside the back bone of the thigh, called the medial condyle of the femur. It inserts via the Achilles tendon near the rear of the heel, more precisely the posterior calcaneus. Plantar flexion, or pointing the foot downward, and knee flexion are made easier by the gastrocnemius.

Soleus: The soleus is a flat and elongated muscle that originates from the posterior-superior tibia and fibula, which are the bones in the lower leg. It merges with the gastrocnemius and inserts at the back of the heel, also through the Achilles tendon. The soleus is responsible for plantar flexion and plays a crucial role in stabilizing the foot and ankle complex.


Of course! The capacity to push off the feet in a specified direction is crucial for athletic motions like cutting, running, and jumping. The calf muscles must contract in order to accomplish this.

In these exercises, you can use more force if your calves are stronger. Strong calves improve an athlete’s overall performance in addition to protecting the foot and ankle complex throughout these activities. It should be noted that power training must be combined with hypertrophy training (which focuses on muscle growth) if you want to build explosive power for athletics.

Can bodyweight workouts be the only way to build calf muscles? It’s a great idea to start with bodyweight training, especially if you include calves movements that use their entire range of motion. Although this method might produce some early improvement, it is imperative to constantly adjust the acute variables—weight, sets, and repetitions—to maintain and improve the outcomes.

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