Why Your Calves Aren’t Growing And How You Can Fix Them

Generation Iron Exercise Guide Calves

Calves not growing? Here’s how to power through for growth.

One of the most complained about muscles are the calf muscles. Men (and women) everywhere lament at the work they’ve put in with less than ideal results when it comes to your calves. While genetics play a large factor in how your muscles will show up, there are certain things you can do enhance what you’ve already got.

One of the most basics concepts you need to learn…is more! While body weight training can definitely keep your muscles pumped and fairy toned, for calves that really pop you’re going to need more. But what does that mean exactly, more reps? more weight? well both of these are true…to a point.


As far as weight is concerned, you definitely want more of that. Body weight isn’t going to provide the necessary resistance needed to break down muscle, causing it to recover stronger. Next time you’re doing your seated calve raises try throwing some more weight on there. You can use a traditional machine or try it using dumbbells for an alternate variation.


When it comes to reps, you’ve got to find that perfect balance. While you don’t necessarily need to be doing a hundred reps as you would with bodyweight, you also don’t want to be only doing 4 or 5. If you can do heavy weight for as many as 25 reps per set then you’re in the sweet spot range. As with anything, feel free to tweak the rep ranges depending on your ability and goals.


This one really hit home for me as I was working on my chest. Jay Cutler always goes on about concentrating on the muscle when you’re hitting your pecs and I thought it was all hocus pocus. I was wrong.

Concentrating on the contraction of any muscles while performing an exercise not only brings more blood to the muscle but also eliminates useless movement. Perform your calf raises in a controlled manner, when you get to the top make sure to squeeze for extra emphasis.

On the way down you also want to concentrate the negative portion of the exercise as putting the weight back down in a controlled manner is the other 50% of your TUT (time under tension. Don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself.

Extra Calf Day

Why not? If your muscles can handle the extra day and you’ve been giving your body accurate rest, then top off those calves with an extra day. Most people work their calves during leg day, which is fine.

But you have to remember your calves are tired from doing other exercises (squats, deadlifts, leg curls, etc.), having a separate day lets you attack them while they’re fresh. This leads to more output and hopefully greater gains.

While all these tips can help get you the swollen calves you want and deserve, you’ve got to have your core principles in check. This means your sleep and nutrition. Without adequate rest and nutrient dense foods you deplete your T-levels and in general reek havoc on your body.

So pay attention to both sides of the sport for healthy and positive gains. What are your problem areas? Let us know by hitting up our comments below or head on over to our official Facebook and Twitter.

*Header image courtesy of Envato Elements.

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