Ask a group of gym trainees what works best for their calves and you are almost guaranteed to get different answers from everyone. Some will most likely answer high reps works best for calves, other will answer low reps. When it comes to sculpting great calves, there is an ongoing debate: Is it better to train this hard-to-develop muscle group with lighter weight and higher reps (12-and- above rep range), or with heavier weight and lower reps (10-and-below rep range)? However, the answer is simple: calves are just like any other muscle group and should be trained as such.
Hitting calves with a variety of exercises and repetition schemes is your best strategy to keep them growing because the two main muscles making up the calves – the soleus and the gastrocnemius – respond to different stimulus and repetition ranges. Plus the combination of low and high reps will allow you to reach your goal a lot faster by maximizing strength and hypertrophy. The low reps will get your calves stronger which leads to strength gain and muscle hypertrophy while the high reps will target your calves for muscle hypertrophy and endurance to make your calves grow even faster and stronger.
So whenever training calves, follow these suggestions to cycle your repetition scheme with heavy (5-10 reps) and light (12-25 reps) phases:
- Cycle 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 from heavy to light phases from workout to workout.
- Another effective method id mixing up your rep scheme within a workout. For example, 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. Don’t forget that when you train calves with heavier weight, you need to let them recover as you would your other muscle groups. Follow heavy days with at least 2-3 days of rest before hitting the abs and calves again.
Use Workout B(low reps) for 2 weeks then switch to Workout A(high reps) for 2 weeks or if you want you use Workout B for day 1 of your calf workouts and Workout A for day 2. For each exercise, use a weight that allows you to reach failure at the assigned reps.