Calves are probably one of the most neglected muscle groups when it comes to workouts and the muscle group that has always been really difficult to get in shape, even for experienced athletes.

When it comes to working out recreationally, there is, first of all, a problem of psychical nature in the form of the lack of the motivation for a workout for calves.

Many people find it much easier to train larger muscle groups, mainly in the upper body, since they are much more visible, and by doing that, they neglect the lower part of the body and especially the calves that are a small muscle group, and they also make up various reasons for doing so.

three women standing tiptoe in a gym doing exercises for calves

Why Is It So Difficult Shaping Calves?

Next to the subjective component, a few objective reasons tell us why many people have weak or undeveloped calves.

One of the reasons is a limited movement trajectory. The eccentric phase of movement and the movement’s concentric phase is shorter than in most of the other muscle groups.

Let us compare it with another muscle group, for example, biceps. The movement in standing biceps curl is 180 degrees, which is impossible with any calf exercises.

This shows that the eccentric phase of movement and concentric phase of the movement is much shorter, which means that it is much harder to activate the calves’ muscles and create the conditions for their growth.

The second objective reason is that during the day, claves are constantly stimulated while running, walking, or even standing since they help us keep balance while standing; this makes it very difficult to stimulate them to grow more.

The third objective reason is the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is one of the most elastic and strongest tendons in the body.

Many of our daily activities and our workouts transfer to the Achilles tendon, thus diminishing calves’ activation.

The fourth objective reason is simply genetics. Some people can work out really easily with the low intensity, and they will have amazing calves, while others will be killing themselves with workouts and achieve almost nothing, just because of their genes.

This does not mean that those with bad genetics can not have good calves; with correct high-intensity training, everything is possible.

fit young women tiptoeing photographed from the back

 Workout For Calves

There are several different stands when it comes to the workout for calves, from training using just your body weight, which is ridiculous. We already told you why – it only has the effect of a normal walk that is close to nothing to training with heavy weights.

The best workout option for calves is variety. When we say variety, we are talking about the number of reps and the different exercises to stimulate the muscles more and the variety in the feet’ position during the exercises.

The feet’ position is crucial since, depending on the feet’ position, we activate an inner or outer side of the calves.

When the toes face forward like in the normal standing position, the entire calf is activated. When the toes are facing each other, the outer side of the calves is activated.

When the toes are facing to the side, the inner side of the calves is activated. Once we combine these facts, we get an effective workout for calves.

We will give you an example of two variations of workout for calves which you will do like this: one day, do the first variation of the workout, and the next time when you are doing the workout for calves, do the other variation. This way, you will stimulate muscles more and always do a different variation of the workout.

Variation 1

A1) Seated Calf Raises with toes facing in – do three sets ten reps each, making sure that at the end of the negative phase of the movement, you pause, meaning you stay in that position for one to two seconds and do the same at the end of the positive phase of the movement.

A2) Donkey Calf Raise with toes facing out – do this exercise right after the A1 exercise without a break. Do three sets with thirty to fifty reps.  After you finish the exercise A2, take a two-minute break and then do exercise A1 again.

B) Calf Raise in standing position with toes facing forward (normal foot position). Do three sets of ten to thirty reps with a break of thirty seconds between sets. It would help if you did exercise B after finishing all the sets of exercises A1 and A2.

Variation 2

A) Calf Raise in standing position toes facing forward (normal foot position). Do six sets with six to eight reps lifting the weight; you could do ten reps, about eighty percent of your maximum.

Break between sets should be ninety seconds. At the end of the negative phase of the movement, pause in that position for three to four seconds to achieve greater stress on the muscles and activate the muscle fibers as much as you can.

Remember to alternate the variations each time you are doing the calves’ workout to get the best effect. After a few months, you should change the exercises since muscles get used to the same movement and they stop growing.

Don’t expect to see the results as soon as you start working out. It takes a lot of dedication and persistence to succeed, but it will be very rewarding if you persevere.