It seems like a genetic lottery. Some people are born with big, shapely calves while others are forced to live much of their lives with twig-like lower legs. Frustratingly for many, the calves are one of the body’s muscles that are most resistant to growth. Think about it, every time you even take a step your calf muscles are activated, as they are lumbered with job of supporting your bodyweight all day. As a result of this you need to hit the calves extremely hard to activate them enough to see an increase in size. Normal training won’t do you much good when it comes to getting bigger calves. Try deploying the five tips below to build calves that’ll look great in shorts.
Don’t use all of the tips at once of course – you don’t want to overtrain your calves now do you? Try picking one or two tips from the list and change them around every other week.
1. Bed-time raises
Each night before you go to bed try doing a set of 100 slow standing calf raises, e sure to squeeze hard on each rep. No need for any weights, just use your bodyweight. Your calves are well equipped to take the burn on a daily basis, they are more than used to carrying your bodyweight after all.
2. Go barefoot
Arnold Schwarzenegger liked to train his calves in his bare feet. This way you can increase the range of motion for any calf movement that you do, forcing a far more intense contraction.
3. Tiptoe around
Ever wondered why ballet dancers have such enviable calves? It’s because they’re always on their tiptoes. Walk around on your tiptoes instead of on flat feet for extra calf activation
4. Have two calf days
Add two calf workouts per week to your workout routine. Do one of them with heavy weights for sets of 4-6 reps and one workout with much lighter weights for sets of 25-50 reps. This will help to attack muscle fibres that you probably haven’t hit before and therefore force your calves into growth
5. Daily training
For an initial period of 2-4 weeks try to train your calves everyday before you go back to your normal workout program. Use 4-6 sets in each workout and use a different calf exercise each day.
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Between 2014 and 2015, Andre Jackson was the web editor of Men’s Fitness UK, which predated and then shared a website with Coach. A love for climbing ropes and boarding slopes, he doesn’t have the most traditional of workout plans but he’s obsessed with finding out how much protein he can get from everything. His favorite gym move is double wave battle ropes, his favorite sports are football and snowboarding, and his personal best is conquering a V6 bouldering climbing wall.