There is no need to reinvent the wheel to bring up arguably the most frustrating muscle group in the body. But you will need to bring the pain.
If you want bigger calves you have to make them grow. Going through the motions simply won’t cut it. So if you are ready to bust through your lower-leg sticking point once and for all, add this routine to your program and leave your 18-year-old calves far, far behind.
You need to take a systematic approach in which the weights are heaviest early in the workout then you are fresh and get progressively lighter with each exercise. This helps to ensure that you achieve a full range of motion – as high as possible on the tip of your toes at the top and feeling a nice stretch in your calves at the bottom – on every rep of every set, even after fatigue has set in.
The workout is as follows:
- Standing Calf Raise – 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
- Seated Calf Raise – 3 sets of 20 reps
- Perform 20 reps to failure, then reduce the weight and continue to failure again. Do this three to four times total before resting two or three minutes and beginning your next set.
- Bodyweight Standing Calf Raise – 3 sets of 30 reps
- Take as long as you need to reach 50, resting 15 to 20 seconds each time you hit failure. Do three sets – 150 reps – total.
All three of these exercises should be done to complete muscle failure. Calves can be worked two to three times per week, as long as you’re giving the muscles a full two days of recovery between each workout. Repeat this protocol for a couple of months and continue to measure your progress.