Best Leg Workouts | How To Grow My Calves?

Written by Jamie Bantleman

Grow My Calves With The Best Leg Workouts

I have developed 8 key rules to growing calf muscles and ensuring that you can fight genetics to enable some incredible muscular stimulus to make them grow! Bodybuilders, as well as anyone else who are looking for improved aesthetics always aim to grow their calves and many people, are simply not blessed with naturally impressive calves due to the muscle belly being higher up on the bone.


#1 Lift Heavy


We need to remember that weight training is supposed to be performed at maximal weight for the required amount of repetitions under the specific time under tension that is prescribed. When training calves this rule is no different, the issue with how a lot of people train their calves is that because of the pain it produces they simply drop the weight before their muscle genuinely fatigues.

#2 Increase Volume for the Soleus


The Soleus is a muscle that can be engaged through a ‘seated calf raise’ while the knee is bent at around a 90-degree angle. This switches the main focus of the movement from the gastrocnemius which is the part of the calf that is used on a regular basis through standing, walking or running. Due to the Soleus being less utilised on a daily basis, I would recommend for you to increase the rep range to 15-25 when performing a seated calf raise.

hanging leg raises

#3 Decrease Volume for the Gastrocnemius


Men: 5340


Women: 4912


These figures represent the amount of steps per day as an average was calculated using 1000 people in the US. As these figures represent, the gastrocnemius that is worked when in a straight leg position such as a standing calf raise or straight leg calf press on a leg press. This muscle can be over dominant, while it is still important to work this part of the calf, lowering the volume will produce better growth.

#4 Change Foot Positions


Changing the angle in which our muscles are being flexed and contracted is very important and doing this with our feet when training calves can prove to be a very effective method of training.

pnf calf stretches

#5 Consider Olympic Lifting


Olympic lifting consistently sees you moving into a raised position onto your toes while performing a heavy lift. This is indirectly increasing the tension on the muscle and offers a different and less isolated training session for your calves.

#6 Increase The Length Of Time In The Eccentric Phase


When performing a calf raise, try to slow down the eccentric phase of the movement and purposely focus on the tension being applied at this point.


#7 Ensure Of A Full Range Of Motion


A major problem with any muscle not growing sufficiently is the lack of range in movement during an exercise, often we find that weakness or a lack of flexibility causes this. To counteract this happening, you should check the weight is enough for you to perform the full movement of a calf raise.

#8 Perform Movements Through Dorsiflexion


When training through dorsiflexion you are pulling your toes towards you rather than a normal calf raise when you are raising upwards on your toes. You can do this by using a band across the feet and pulling your foot towards you to work the tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, peroneus brevis and extensor digitorium longus.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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