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How To Build Massive Calves – Who Said They Won’t Grow ?

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The calves are probably one of the most frustrating muscle groups to build up, you’re either blessed with great calf genetics or naturally small calf anatomyones. Many believe you can’t increase the size of your calves, but that’s a myth because if you train any muscle group with the right intensity it will grow. Before we jump into the tips and routine for building massive calves you will need to know the muscles that make up the calf. By understanding what muscles make up the calf you will have a greatly improved mind to muscle connection when performing any exercise which results in more muscle gains.

The Calves

The calves are made of 2 muscles and is used in everyday activities such as walking, running, climbing etc. The first calf muscle is the Gastrocnemius (the much larger one that you see) which contains 2 muscle groups, the lateral and medial head. The second calf muscle is the Soleus which lies below the Gastrocnemius located on the tibia and fibula (side of the calf).

Now that you understand what muscles make up the calves here is a brilliant routine for you to try that will hit both the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles ensuring that your calves gains a few inches in size, but remember you must also be eating the right foods and getting enough sleep to allow the muscle to repair/grow bigger. Ensure you choose the right weight to use when performing these exercises so that you actually feel the calves working or else you’re just wasting your time.

Standing Calve Raises

You can either use a calf-raise machine or grab a pair of dumbbells and stand on a block, extend up with your heel until it is fully off the floor and come back down slowly. You can also create variations of this exercise, for example using only one leg or pausing at the top of the contraction for a longer amount of time. This exercise focuses on the gastrocnemius muscle group.

5 Sets 12-15 Reps

1 Minute 30 Second Rest Inbetween Each Set

standing calve raises


Seated Calve Raises

This one is most commonly done with a machine, but if you don’t have a machine you can place a barbell on your quads or hold a dumbbell inbetween your quads while sitting on a bench. Now extend up with your heel until it is fully off the floor and come back down slowly. This exercise focuses on the soleus muscle group.

5 Sets 12-15 Reps

1 Minute 30 Second Rest Inbetween Each Set

seated calve raises

Do this routine once every 4 days to ensure that your calves keep growing. It is very important to hit the calves with high intensity and put it under immense stress or else they simply won’t grow. The reason for this is that everyday when you walk around you are using your calf muscles so if you want them to grow you need to train them at a high rep range and intensity unlike the other muscles.

If you have any other suggestions for great calf exercises please feel free to leave a comment below.

14 thoughts on “How To Build Massive Calves – Who Said They Won’t Grow ?

  1. Hey Andrew !

    I just read your article and those exercises are really great. The problem is I don’t have a machine nor a barbell to use for this exercises. Do you have some exercises to do at home using the body weight ? Also I want to ask if jogging is beneficial for my calf development ?

    Thank you very much !

    1. If you cant go to the gym then try to find something heavy in your house and use it as the weight. As for jogging if you have slim calves you will likely develop muscle, which will make the calves bigger. On the other hand, if you are carrying extra fat when you start a cardio fitness plan, such as running, then your calves may reduce in size.

  2. After reading your article I now feel motivated to train my calves muscles !!! At present I am concentrating on building my upper body.

    I get a lot of useful tips on training the upper body muscles from the net, but since I train at home I didnt find many useful articles on Calves training !!!

    Thanks for sharing and motivating !!!

  3. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for these exercise routines. I find them very easy to follow by using your explanation.

    Just one question, when I am doing the standing calves exercises, what weights would you recommend I start off with ?

    I fractured my ankle around 6 months ago, it is a hair line fracture.There is no pain or anything of that sort so would it still be fine for me to do these exercises ?



    1. Since you have a injury on your ankle, you should start of with a lighter weight (10kg) and see if there is any pain. If you feel no pain gradually increase the weight, but if you do then decrease it.

  4. I have heard of many people talking about doing different exercises and when most of them speak of the calves, they tend to treat them the same as the rest of the body.

    What you mention in your article about doing more reps with more sets makes much more sense to me considering as you also stated that we consistently use these muscles, so we need to approach the exercise regimen with more intensity.

    Will certainly give it a shot and thanks for the tip.

  5. I’ve been on the gym for quite sometime now and tried some basic exercises.

    Unfortunately, I am one of those who are not blessed with calf genetics, but now that I found this site and read the article, I will try the calve exercises you recommend.

    Can I expect to see improvments to my calves in just a month ?

  6. Thank you for your very informative article about building calf muscles.

    They say that calves are one of the hardest body parts to build and I can definitely agree with that statement.

    I will definitely try this calf workout the next time I go to the gym so that my calves grow.

    Thanks for sharing this !

  7. When I wasn’t able to go to the gym due to a bad injury, I used to do standing calf raises on the edge of a step. When they got easier, I would just do one leg at a time. With my foot turned inward and outward as well.

    Gives you a nice all round calf workout !

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