Without a doubt, trying to build big calves is one the most frustrating thing for most people. Calves are not only a very small body part but they are also very stubborn to grow. But even the most stubborn muscle can be coerced to grow. It simply requires a consistent training program that applies effective training techniques and principles. Below we have compiled some of the best calf training tips from many professional bodybuilders used to build their big calves. None of them will bring success without consistency, but they are time-tested and effective methods of reaching your goal of having bigger, stronger calves.
1. Schedule your calf training like you would any other body part and give them your full attention. A few sets done offhandedly before or after the rest of your workout won’t create the kind of response you’re looking for. Set aside time for your calves just as you would for your chest or biceps.
2. Do between 15 and 20 reps per set. Legs muscles tend to benefit from higher reps than do muscles of the upper body.
3. Try to achieve the fullest range of motion possible. Stretch all the way down at the bottom, and come right up on your toes at the top. Calf muscles generally work mostly in the mid-range, so full range movements tend to create a very good response. Regardless of your rep range, be sure you can perform most reps with a full contraction by raising your heels as high as possible and squeezing the calf muscle
4. Train your calves as often as you like. Generally, you can do calf training in every workout, although you might find it less advantageous to work and therefore tire them immediately before doing heavy leg work, especially barbell squats.
5. Do your calf exercises without wearing highly-supportive athletic shoes. When you train your calves wearing softer shoes or just wearing socks, your muscles have to do all the work without the aid of the spring-like structure of athletic footwear
6. Hill repeats are very effective at building calf muscles quickly. Find a hill around 50 to 200 yards long. If you’re a flatlander, a treadmill set on an incline for the same distance will work just as well. Run up the hill near the threshold of your speed and strength. Make sure you’re flexing your ankles and running in an upright position, with your neck and shoulders relaxed. Once you get to the top of the hill, continue your momentum for a few yards then turn around and jog to the bottom of the hill to start again. Repeat the drill 6 to 12 times.
7. Mind-muscle connection is critical in helping maximize muscle growth, especially for small and stubborn muscle like calves. For each rep, you do, keep a mental connection and feeling with your calves and focus all your energy on that rep. By being mentally focused and connecting that mental energy to your muscles, you push the muscle to take in all the work. In fact, studies have shown that a strong mind-muscle connection can help spur growth and strength gains.
8. Periodize and cycle your calf training. For example, do 3-4 weeks of heavy calf training and then switching from the heavy to the light phase every 3-4 weeks. Or try a shorter cycle of switching heavy and light from week to week, or even better switch heavy and light phases from workout to workout.
9. Mixing up your rep scheme within a workout is also a very effective strategy for targeting your calves. Start out with exercises performed with heavier weight in the beginning and progress toward lighter weight for the exercises at the end of the workout. You can also mix up your reps within an exercise by starting off heavier and lightening the load as the sets progress.
10. Remember to keep your knees fairly straight when hitting the gastrocnemius, and to include seated varieties of calf raises to stimulate the underlying soleus muscle