Embarrassed to wear shorts? Frustrated with your lower leg development? Tried everything, but nothing seems to work?
Despite what you may have been told, your genetics are not to blame for why you don’t have bigger calves.
In other words, there’s nothing inherent about why you can’t possess envious, diamond peaked calves.
So today, I’m going to share with you the proven techniques that shattered my sticking point, and forced my calves to grow 2 inches in size.
And in no time at all, you too can be the proud owner of jaw-dropping calves.
How To Add 2 Inches to Your Calves.
1. Don’t Use a Full Range of Motion (FRM).
Nope, this is NOT a typo!
Chances are you’ve been brainwashed for years into thinking that a FRM is vital for bigger calves.
I was no exception and wasted years stretching my heels on a 4-inch block while performing calf raises.
As a result, I developed Achilles tendons like elastic bands but zero calf growth!
Starting from a neutral stance places you in a more powerful position and allows you to hoist more weight.
Furthermore, you’ll find it easier to achieve a strong peak contraction that is vital for bigger calves!
In conclusion, begin your reps with the soles of your feet parallel to the floor.
Then, lift the weight to achieve a strong contraction at the top of the movement.
“If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied.”– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, professional wrestler and actor.
2. Use Correct ‘Plantarflexion’.
I’ve noticed that men with great calves can invariably get up on their toes like ballet dancers.
And learning this one secret was the most astounding breakthrough moment for me.
Because, for years, I’d been allowing my feet to pivot outwards when doing standing calf raises.
This meant that I was transferring the weight onto the outer edges of the balls of my feet and little toe.
As soon as I started keeping the weight over the ball of my foot directly under my big toe, I began to notice staggering results.
While it can be a little tricky to master at first, here’s a top tip on how to achieve correct plantarflexion: hold a tennis ball between your knees during the movement!
As you power upwards, aim to keep the weight on the insides of the balls of your feet, bringing your heels towards each other, rather than drifting away from each other.
In conclusion: I cannot stress how important mastering this technique is!
Along with not stretching my heels below my toes, this was perhaps the most crucial factor that caused my calves to EXPLODE in size!
3. Perform Calf Jumps (Carefully!)
Firstly, have you ever noticed that the standing calf raise is more like an isolation movement?
And wouldn’t it be great if you could do a compound movement to build bigger calves?
Well, there is such an exercise…and they’re called calf jumps!
In addition, many people have never even heard of this move, which now puts you ahead of the crowd.
These remarkably effective exercises will boost your calf growth to the next level.
You’ll get twice the results in half the time now that you are privy to this ‘underground’ mass builder.
“Most people give up right before the big break comes—don’t let that person be you.” – Michael Boyle, performance coach to the 2013 World Series Championship Red Sox and owner of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning.
4. Add Donkey Calf Raises.
The Donkey Calf Raise is another insanely effective, yet almost forgotten exercise to build impressive diamond peaks and mass to your calves.
While you don’t need any equipment for the donkey calf raise, you will need the assistance of another human being.
Still need an excuse to talk to that hot gym bunny who you just can’t help admiring? Well, no longer!
5. Higher Reps are Key for Bigger Calves.
As a general rule, building bigger calves require more reps than any other muscle due to their high number of muscle fibers.
For example, the biceps contain about 40,000 muscle fibers, while the calf muscle has over 1.2 million muscle fibers!
I experimented for one year with very heavy weights and low reps (10 reps) with no success.
Twenty reps are the answer, and if you wish to develop a stunning diamond peak, you must keep the knees slightly bent during the movement.
“You have to push past your perceived limits, push past that point you thought was as far as you can go.” – Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and 2010 Super Bowl MVP.
6. Use the Rep-Pause Technique.
It’s worth noting that rep-pausing is not the same as the rest-pause technique.
Rep-pausing simply means pausing long enough for the burn of lactic acid build up to subside.
This means you can continue to perform a few additional reps that you may not have otherwise been able to do.
Keep your rest to the bare minimum and then power through!
7. Follow a 2:2:3 Rep Speed.
It’s astonishing how fast many trainers perform their reps.
Slow down, people!
Use a 2:2:3 ratio: count 2 seconds up for the positive contraction, get great peak contraction squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then slowly lower under a controlled count of 3 seconds.
Now there’ll come a time during the set that this rep speed may become impractical.
When you feel you’ve reached this point, you can resort to a more conducive rep speed, perhaps abandoning the peak contraction entirely.
I achieved amazing success by performing 12 very strict, controlled reps followed by 8 mid-range pumping reps.
“We must appreciate and never underestimate our own inner power.” – Noah Galloway, 2014 Ultimate Men’s Health Guy.
8. Don’t Rush Your Sets.
You want to be able to really stress your calf muscle fibers with heavy poundage whilst using good form.
So in order to use colossal weights for each set, give your calves plenty of time to regain enough strength.
The goal here is mass and power, not cardio or fat-burning.
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9. Train Them First!
If you want Herculean calves, they can’t be an afterthought at the end of your gym session.
Adding on a few token calf raises when you’re spent from performing bench presses or deadlifts is not the way to go.
“You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.”– Michael Phelps, swimmer and 18-time Olympic gold medalist.
10. Finish Your Workout With a 50+ Rep Body Weight Pumping Set.
You’ve pounded the muscle fibers with old-school iron.
Now it’s time to nourish and feed those muscles with a perfecting, finishing touch.
As a result, you’ll reap the benefits of muscle fiber growth and capillary growth.
This means that your calves will get all the amino acids and nutrients needed to fuel their explosive growth.
11. Train on a 5-Day Cycle.
First, perform a heavy workout on day one.
Then, perform a very short, body-weight, pumping workout on day two.
Just 2 – 3 sets of 30 reps is sufficient for this pumping-style session.
You may need to experiment a little, however, and everyone will be different in this respect.
The idea is not to break down any more muscle tissue but to achieve a good pump without exhausting the muscle.
This actually stimulates recovery, because it forces blood into your calves and flushes out toxins from your heavy day.
Then, rest your calves for days 3 – 5 to allow them to recover and GROW.
Furthermore, I’m amazed at the sheer amount of overtraining that’s rife in this more is better culture.
If you’re not experiencing the growth you want, then back off a little.
It’s far more likely that you’re doing too much, rather than too little.
This may mean adding an extra day of recovery and/or reducing your volume by one or two sets.
Don’t let paranoia scupper your results.
12. Use Visualization for Bigger Calves.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger trained his calves, he used to imagine them as boulders, filling the entire gym.
Whether he knew it or not, he was using a process known as visualization, which is now commonly practiced by all top-performing athletes.
“Where the mind goes, the body follows”. – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The 7-time Mr. Olympia went one step further: he cut off the bottom of his tracksuit bottoms, thus exposing his only weak body part to serve as a constant reminder.
Thanks for reading folks! As always please post any comments below, especially if you found success with these proven strategies for bigger calves.
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It’s in reality a nice and useful piece of information. I am happy that you shared this
useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this.
Thanks for sharing.
Hello! Glad you liked this post. Watch out for a new post coming soon about strength training for women! Kind regards, Peter.
Your method of describing the whole thing in this paragraph is in fact fastidious, every one be able to without difficulty
understand it, Thanks a lot.
Hi Ernestine. You’re very welcome and thanks for leaving a comment! Cheers, Peter.
Thanks for the great article. I’m not clear on the number of days to train the calves though. You say a 5 day split but did this mean you’re suggesting to train calves 5 days a week? Also, your say not full range. What does this actually look like? Neutral to halfway downward and halfway upward, or halfway down and fully up? Could you please clarify? My calves thank you! ?
Hi Eric. Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate it. I’ve updated the article to clarify those points. The 5-day cycle involves a heavy day, followed by a short, light pumping day and the three days of complete rest. Unless you’re a chemically-assisted, genetic superior, training ANY muscle every day, will quickly result in overtraining. The range of motion is starting with feet parallel to the floor, and then a strong contraction onto the balls of your feet. Remember though, don’t allow your feet and knees to rotate outwards. Aim to keep the weight on the insides of the balls of your feet and big toe rather than rocking over towards your little toe. I hope this clarifies the issue and good luck!
Hi Peter. Great article I cannot wait to start working this into my routines, So just for clarification, 20 reps of regular raises, 20 reps of donkey raises and finally 20 reps of calf jumps? or should it be 3×20 for each excersie? Thank you for feedback.
Hi Mark. There are many ways in which you can incorporate the principles of this post. And a lot will depend on your current workout/fitness/experience/supplement (chemical & otherwise) levels. Personally, I prefer to complete just 6 sets in total. 2 x 20 standing raises, 2 x 20 seated raises and then 2 x 20 calf jumps to take advantage of momentum and really exhaust the muscles. However, you could perform the 3 exercises as a tri-set and even switch up the order to take advantage of ‘shocking’ the calves. The biggest takeaway is using correct ‘plantarflexion and not overstretching the heels as this means you will compromise the amount of weight you can lift as it places you in a weaker start position. Thanks for your comment and good luck with your workouts. Peter
Enjoyed your article , but not being negative but all the articles in skinny calves have to take a reference from some bodybuilding mountain that one competitions . Be good to hear clean results from natural bodybuilders rather than a reference from a bodybuilder that needs loads of steroids down there necks to build there muscles !! Keep it real
Hi Steve. I totally agree! I in no way endorse the use of steroids or GH or any other drug (except maybe caffeine!) to achieve results. I’m unclear to what reference you allude, but all my results are natural as are the training methods put forward in this post. But yes, keep it real my friend and thanks for reading. Kind regards, Peter