Calf growth can seem impossible, with session after session seemingly showing minimal results. They’re the elusive muscle of the fitness world, and are the cause of great insecurity for many men (for some reason). So much so, that calf implants were reportedly the third most requested cosmetic surgery procedure for British men in 2017.
But fear not, it is actually possible to chase gains in your lower legs without going under the knife. Incorporate these training hacks into your program consistently, and watch your calves expand.
1. Include two calf-raise workouts per week into your program.
The first session should use heavy weights, with sets ranging consisting of 6-12 reps. For these calf raise exercises, keep your legs straight to target the gastrocnemius (the larger upper muscle of you calf).
The second calf session should consist of sets of 25-40 reps with much lighter weights, dedicated to training your soleus (the outer muscle of your calf). Keep your legs slightly bent for these raises.
2. Go barefoot when training calves.
Removing your shoes will increase your range of motion and place extra (but not too much) pressure on your calf muscles to stabilise the movements.
3. Stretch your calves.
Tight anything restricts the range of motion possible when training the muscle, and the same goes with calves. Stand on a step and enter the bottom of a calf raise. Hold this position statically for 20-30 seconds. Repeat for 5 rounds to prepare the muscle before working out.
4. Calf raises are a relatively discreet exercise.
Where you can, take 1 minute to pump out 20 body weight calf raises. You can do this while waiting for your morning coffee, standing at the printer at work, or when you wake up and go to bed. They can be done spur of the moment, don’t work up a sweat, and won’t make you look out of place in normal situations.
5. Get on your tip toes
This may sound ridiculous, but wherever possible, extend up onto your tip-toes for an extended period of time. Ballerinas have great calf definition, as a result of being ‘en pointe’ for longs bursts of time.