Building Big Calves

big muscular calves

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Calves are one of the most underrated body part on any strength athlete, body builder or weekend warrior. Calves are often the most neglected body part in most training routines.

However, when you think about it, calves are one of the most exposed body parts when it comes to wearing shorts. How many times do we wear shorts during the summer time?

For most people (myself included), building large, muscular calves can be a very hard task to accomplish. When you think about it, calves are hard to train, they're never any fun to train, and it seems like they take forever to grow. Because calves are such a small muscle, it takes a lot of hard work to really build them up.

The thing you have to remember about calves is consistency. If you really want to build a pair of large muscular calves, you have to give them priority over everything else, train them hard and heavy, and be consistent with the training.

I first learned about building large calves from an old training buddy of mine. This guy had cannon balls for calves and they looked very imposing from all angles.

Any time he had a pair of shorts on, all eyes fell on his calves. Anyways, the first thing he taught me about training calves was to always give them priority and train them first and foremost in your training routine.

He would train his calves two times per week and always first in his training regiment. So, if he was training back and triceps on day one, he would start his routine by doing calves first. He would than do another calf workout on day 4 making sure he trained his calves first.

The thing here is priority and consistency.

So, what I'd like to do is pass on a calf workout that's designed to build large muscular calves. To do this workout, you will need to:

  • Perform this workout first thing in your training routine;
  • Possibly perform this workout on a day of it's own (If you really want to build calves);
  • Perform this workout 2 times per week;
  • Gradually increase the weight and reps each week;

The Workout

The workout is as follows:

Exercise 1: Standing Calf Raises;
Exercise 2: Seated Calf Raises;
Exercise 3: Seated Leg Press Toe Raise;
Exercise 4: Donkey Calf Raise

Warm up: 5 minutes on the exercise bike. Don't go too crazy here because you simply want to get the blood flowing.

Exercise #1: Standing Calf Raises

Warm up: 1 x 25 reps
4 x 20 reps

Gradually add more and more weight with each set. Rest about 40 seconds in between sets.

Exercise #2: Seated Calf Raises

4 x 20 reps

Rest about 40 seconds in between sets.

Exercise #3: Leg Press Toe Raise

3 x 15 reps using heavy weight

Simply take a seat in the leg press apparatus. Position only your toes on the leg press platform. While your legs are in a straight position, move your toes up and down. Remember to lock the safety hatches back to their original position once you've started the exercise (this way your position is safe).

Rest about 50 seconds in between sets

Exercise #4: Donkey Calf Raise

3 sets of 20 reps

Rest only 20 seconds in between each set. What you want to do here is go for a big "burn". Really pump those calves up and get the maximum amounts of blood flowing in your calf muscles.

In the above noted image, you will see that someone is sitting on our models back. Don't worry, you don't have to have someone on your back. Simply use a hyper extension appartus and bend at the waist to perform this exercise. Simply use a block under your toes and your good to go.

Also, most gyms will have a donkey calf raise machine. If your gym has one, great.

So there you have it, a calf workout designed to help you build large muscular calves. If you can do this workout two times per week, make it a priority in your training regiment, and watch your diet closely, I’m sure you’ll start to see growth in a couple of weeks or so.

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All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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