The Calf Training Secret No Pro Wants You To Know

calf training

Calf training for the pros delivered right to you.

Calves are one of the smallest, most stubborn, and desired muscle groups. Since you’re reading this article, we’ll assume you’re lacking in the calf department and are willing to change your current situation.But working our calves can seem monotonous and growth becomes more and more elusive. In this article, we will detail a calf training routine by the pros.

There are many bodybuilding pros that walk the biggest stages never see calf plateaus and there is a reason for that. They know what to do and how best to tackle all of those lifting wants and need. With the right approach, they’ve managed to master the art of building bigger calves.

If you’ve been laboring away on the calf exercises but don’t have any results to show for it, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll share a calf training secret with you which will take your calf gains to a whole new level.

In fact, we’ll even share the mistakes people make when calf training because we know how valuable your gains can be. With the right knowledge and best approach to building bigger calves, you will be well on your way to those gains you absolutely want most.

Let’s jump into the calf training secret that pros don’t want you to know. By following this tip, you will see great growth in your calves in no time.

5 Reasons Why Your Calves Aren’t Growing

The Mistakes

Before we let you in on the secret, we want to go over the mistakes most people make in their calf training. Once you know what is holding you back from achieving your goals, you can get better results by fixing your shortcomings. While you might be kicking yourself when you hear these mistakes, for maybe you do one or all of them, fear not, for you’ve come here to learn what not to do in order to learn what to do.

Training At The End of A Leg Workout

If you have lagging calves, you should never train them after a brutal leg workout when you have no gas left in the tank. For best results, work your calves when you aren’t fatigued. A common mistake of training calves at the end of your workout doesn’t leave them any chance to get an effective workout since they are just too tired. Make time in your leg day routine to set aside calf exercises to you get work done.

No Volume

Most people make the mistake of following a vanilla calf training program where they perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps on a couple of exercises. If you want to turn your calves into bulls, you need to be training them like you train all your other major muscle groups. Perform at least five exercises and switch up the intensity often to keep your muscles guessing (1).

Lack of Variations

While people are proactive in their bicep training – they work their inner, outer, and medial bicep heads – they don’t follow the same approach when it comes to calf training. You should be targeting your calves from three angles to train them effectively.

Perform your calf exercises with your feet planted parallel to target the medial calf heads. Placing your toes together and heels apart – forming an “A” – will target the outer calf heads and keeping your heels together and toes apart – forming a “V” – will work the inner heads.

grow your calves

The Secret That Will Change Your Calf Training Forever

Your calves are made up of both slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers. Performing exercises with long time under tension (TuT) works the slow-twitch fibers and lifts with smaller TuT train the fast-twitch muscles. This allows you to target your muscles differently while effectively taking advantage of both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers (2).

So, the dilemma with calf training is that no matter which kind of intensity (high or low number of repetitions) you go for, you’re not going to get the best results. There is a way around the problem and it has been a well-kept secret until now.

Forget Reps, Focus on Time – 1 Minute Is The Magic Mark

To make the most of your calf training, you should focus on performing the exercises for one minute. It doesn’t matter how many reps you do in that one minute but you need to make sure you’re not taking a rest-pause during the set.

You also cannot go light with the weight on the bar because if you do, the slow-twitch muscle fibers will be left out of the action. Remember – this is not a drop-set. You have to end with the same weight you’ll be starting with.

If done right, calf training isn’t easy, and you’ll experience it first hand with this technique. By putting an emphasis on time, you don’t put that dreaded rep count on your workout. The continuous movement of a calf exercise for just one minute is something you will feel and most certainly won’t be disappointed with.

Best Calf Exercises To See Great Gains

When it comes to building those bigger calves, having the right approach is absolutely imperative. By working your calves for time instead of reps, you set yourself up for even bigger gains. But what exercises should you perform? How can you better set yourself up for success when looking to build those larger, more rounded, more muscular calves?

Let’s list a few exercises so you can better tackle those calf building goals:

Wrap Up

Working out calves can be a challenge. Unlike other muscle groups, they may not be as fun for some to work as well. However, bulging, muscular calves can make or break a physique and having the right size and really emphasizing those gains is exactly what you need to succeed.

Put a priority over working your calves for time as opposed to reps and you will see much better gains to your overall growth. Place some calf exercises in your leg day routine, follow the right steps above and you will see those calf gains take off in no time.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Mangine, G.; et al. (2015). “The effect of training volume and intensity on improvements in muscular strength and size in resistance-trained men”. (source)
  2. Burd, N.; et al. (2012). “Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.