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

When it comes to people that are working out recreationally, there is first of all a problem of psychical nature in the form of the lack of the motivation for 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 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, there are a few objective reasons that tell us why many people have weak or undeveloped calves.

One of the reasons is a limited movement trajectory. Eccentric phase of movement and the concentric phase of movement are 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, and that is impossible with any of the calf exercises.

This shows that eccentric phase of movement and concentric phase of movement are much shorter and that means that it is much harder activating the muscles in calves and creating the conditions for their growth.

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

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 are transferring to the Achilles tendon, thus diminishing the activation of calves.

Fourth objective reason is simply genetics. Some people can work out really easy 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 with only using body weight, which is ridiculous and we already told you why – it only has the effect of a normal walk which is close to nothing, to training with heavy weights.

The best option for workout 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 position of the feet during the exercises.

The position of the feet is very important since depending on the position of the feet we activate an inner or outer side of the calves.

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

When the toes are facing to the side, then 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 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 in 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 the 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. You should do exercises B after you finished 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 with which 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 movement, pause in that position for three to four seconds to achieve greater stress on the muscles and activate the muscle fibres as much as you can.

Remember to alternate the variations each time you are doing the workout for calves to get the best effect. Also, 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.