Turn Your Calves Into Bulls With This Simple Workout

Turn Your Calves into Bulls

Large and defined legs are what separate men from the boys. Legs are also one of the most undertrained muscle groups, yet they provide some of the greatest benefits for someones physique. Training legs provides stability, hormonal benefits, and a better overall aesthetic. However, while quads and hamstrings seem to respond fairly well to training in many people, for most people, calves are at the top of the most stubborn muscle groups list when it comes to seeing improvements. You will need to do something special if you’re lacking in the calf department.

Big legs without big calves are like big arms without forearms, it just does not look right. Even worse, guys with a muscular upper body and toothpick legs are an easy target for insults, and this is something you can avoid. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of these humiliations. Follow these tips and see considerable growth in your calves.

Training Your Calves

When it comes to training your calves, there are plenty of methods we will get into. However, we do want to address that you almost need to overtrain your calves, as they are utilized every day when you are walking around, going up stairs, and so on, so they are used to taking a beating. Realistically, calves are a muscle that you can train every day. That being said, you need to hit them hard to see growth, so let’s get into these tips to turn your calves into bulls.

Use Variations of Calf Raises


If you have weak calves, performing three sets of standing calf raises on the smith machine at the end of your leg workouts isn’t going to do much for you. You need to be constantly shocking your calves, pretty much straight up abusing them, in order for them to grow.

Your calves are made of two muscles; gastrocnemius and soleus. A single calf raise exercise won’t target both these muscle groups, so you need to have variations in your workouts to develop both of these muscles.

The gastrocnemius is the longer calf muscle and is trained when you perform standing calf raises. The soleus is the shorter muscle and is trained by seated calf exercises. You need to have your knees locked out to train the gastrocnemius muscle and soleus is worked when your knees are in more of a bent position.

Like the triceps, your calves are made of three heads; outer, inner and medial. You can target each of them individually and effectively by modifying the placement of your feet. Place your toes close to each other with the balls of your feet flared out to target the outer heads.

Keeping your toes at shoulder width with the balls of your feet placed together will target the inner heads. Performing the calf raises with a normal stance where your feet are parallel to each other will target the medial heads.

Train Your Calves at the Beginning of Your Workouts

calf training

Most people train their calves at the end of their workouts, after they are already fatigued and do not want to spend any more time in the gym. If you have weak calves, you need to train them at the beginning of your workouts while you’re still fresh and full of energy. Your quads, hams, and glutes are big muscle groups and will exhaust you before you get to training your calves, making your calf training lack the intensity that it should have.

Since your calves are relatively smaller muscles that you use every day of your life, they are used to the constant stress and take lesser time to recover. You can train your calves 2-3 times a week. Schedule your calf workouts so you have at least 48 hours between your workouts.

Full Range of Motion to Stretch the Calves

Majority of the people make the mistake of limiting their range of motion while training their calves. Maintaining a full range of motion is the trick to developing the size of your calves.

Stand on an elevated platform like an aerobic step or weight plates with your toes on the platform and your heels off of it. At the bottom of the movement, the balls of your feet should be an inch away from touching the floor. Try mimicking a ballerina on her toes while you’re at the top of the movement. Hold and squeeze the living hell out of your calves at the top of the movement.

You Don’t Need a Lot of Weight

Many people let their egos get the better of them, and you will see them with countless plates loaded up on the smith machine, or the full stack on the calf raise machines. While we respect the weight, it is not necessary. For these people loading up hundreds and hundreds of pounds to hammer their calves, the range of motion while training calves are limited. You do not need to lift the heaviest possible weights while training calves as compared to the other muscles.

A lot of the people load the machine with more weights than they can handle and their motion is restricted to a couple of inches. However, despite not needing massive amounts of weight, you do not want to treat your calves like babies. Load up a good amount of weight that will strain your muscles, but you can still get a good range of motion and contraction with, really focus on the mind muscle connection.

If you’re just starting out or if you have lagging calves, you can perform bodyweight calf raises. Change up the intensity frequently to see the best results.

Calf Workout

Bodyweight Standing Calf Raises – 1 Set 100 Reps

Seated Calf Raises – 3 Sets 30 Reps (Perform 10 reps each with the three feet placement variations)

Weighted Standing Calf Raises – 3 Sets 10 Reps 

Calf Training Wrap Up

Overall, training your calves is just as necessary to your physique as training the rest of your muscle groups. Lagging calves make for a lackluster physique, and they just do not look right.

How often do you train your calves? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.