Bigger calves are a dream for many people… including myself.
I've worked hard for years and years trying to build my calves.
‘GREAT NEWS'… I finally found the secret to building calves.
I started with 14″ calves and have added 3 inches to my calves using the secret techniques I'm going to reveal to you today.
There's no question about it…
Once you start using these calf building secrets, you'll see instant gains in the size of your calves.
You've Got to Work Them to Build Them… Here's How Often You Should Be Doing Calf Exercises
If you've read much here at Weight Lifting Complete, you'll know that I always recommend full body workouts for most people.
I highly recommend full body workouts 3 times per week.
During each of those full body workouts, you will be working the entire calf region.
Not just one part of the calves either… the entire calf region: the gastrocs, the soleous, and the tibialis anterior.
In other words, you will be doing 3 calf exercises each workout.
And you'll be doing 3 workouts per week. So the calves get worked plenty… there's no once per week calf program on this site — because it doesn't work as well. And that's the truth.
No muscle group in the body needs a full 7 days of rest before it is worked again. And that includes the calves.
Here's How Each And Every Rep Should Be Done If You Want To Finally Put Some Size On Your Calves
We've all seen it and have probably done this before…
Put entirely too much weight on some standing calf machine and bounce up and down with the weight. We didn't control the weight. We didn't work our calves. We wasted our time.
Let's talk about each rep. How should they be done? Should each rep be slow? Or should they be done explosively? Bouncing?
How about none of the above.
Each part of a repetition should be done differently on every calf exercise you perform.
There are 4 parts of each rep. Here's how you handle each part of the rep:
- Positive Portion (Concentric):
- Peak Contraction (Top of Each Rep):
- Negative Portion (Eccentric):
- Full Stretch (Bottom of Each Rep):
Explosively lift the weight.
From the very bottom position of each rep, you should try to lift the weight up as explosively and controlled as possible.
Try to achieve the best peak contraction possible.
For a 5 full seconds, try to increase the peak contraction at the top of each rep.
The 5 second count doesn't start until you reach the top of each rep.
Slowly lower the weight.
It should take you a full 5 seconds to lower the weight to a full stretch.
Once you reach the bottom of each rep, I want you to continue to try to get an even better stretch in your calves.
Once you get that great stretch, hold it for a count of 5 seconds.
The Method for Completing Each Rep is Different Than Anything You've Tried Before… It's Not Easy BUT It Gets the Job Done
You've probably noticed that working your calves in the manner shown above is completely different than anything you've tried before.
Each part of a rep is VERY, VERY important yet everyone ignores this fact.
Most people never get that peak contraction and never get the benefit of the negative or full stretch.
All of that is going to change and you're going to see how big of a difference this makes.
WARNING: These methods are going to be much tougher than the normal way of bouncing up and down like most people do. The method discussed above takes effort. So get ready.
Your calves will be burning.
But you haven't even came close to failure… So keep going.
The new way of working your calves isn't easy. But that's what you have to do to build bigger calves.
You MUST Lift Heavier Weight Each And Every Calf Workout… This is NOT Optional — Here's Why:
A muscle isn't going to grow unless you provide the proper muscle building stimulus each workout.
The strategy we employ in every workout program we design has you lifting heavier weight each and every workout.
Lifting heavier weight is the most important muscle building stimulus.
All you have to do to provide the proper muscle building stimulus for bigger calves is lift heavier weight than the previous calf workout.
It's easy, it's simple — especially when you follow the WLC workout programs.
You might be thinking that it's tough to increase the amount of weight you lift every single workout.
And you would be right… BUT, the strategy we employ is to increase weight and decrease reps over the course of a weight lifting cycle.
That strategy is what makes the WLC System completely different from the majority of programs out there. And that's why you will build bigger calves… because we know what works.
If you want bigger calves, you have to force them to grow…
And that can only be done by increasing the amount of weight you lift. You can try doing more reps with the same weight BUT nothing works better than heavier weight. Nothing.
It's Easy to Prioritize the Calves With the WLC Workouts… Here's How You Do It:
Most of the weight lifting programs that go along with the WLC System have you working each muscle group 3 times per week with full body workouts.
On the full body workout programs, you will work the calves 3 times per week.
When you work the calves, you will be doing 3 different exercises each workout for the calves.
One that works the frontal area of the lower leg, one that works the width of the actual calf, and one that works on the thickness of the calves.
All you have to do is stagger each calf exercise between other exercises.
For example, do Squats, do a calf exercise, and then do Bench Press… instead of doing Squats and then Bench Press. Just add the calf exercises in between other exercises.
I don't want you doing the 3 calf exercises back-to-back. By actively resting in between sets, you will have more strength and you'll be able to lift heavier weights on each calf exercise — and that's the goal.
Prioritize the Calves During Muscle Building Cycles Only
If you want to build bigger calves, you must focus on gaining weight each week in the form of muscle.
In other words…
If you are trying to build bigger calves but you're trying to burn body fat at the same time… You won't be eating nearly enough food to build any significant amount of muscle in your calves.
I ALWAYS recommend that you either focus on building muscle for a few months at a time or burning fat. It's tough to focus on both at once.
During muscle building cycles… you attempt to gain lean muscle mass and no body fat.
During fat loss cycles, you focus on losing body fat with no loss in lean muscle mass.
So, only prioritize your calves and expect to build bigger calves during muscle building cycles. It's very tough to build any significat amount of muscle in your calves during fat loss cycles.
The Best Calf Building Exercises
We've built a special page for the best calf muscle exercises.
You can find the best exercises for the calves here: Calf Muscle Exercises.
Remember, to fully work the calves and get the most growth out of them every workout… You MUST work ALL of the large muscle groups in the lower leg.
You've got 3 different muscle groups:
This is the huge calf muscle that everyone likes to work… some people even forget about this muscle sometimes and only do a seated calf raise instead.
Standing calf raise, leg press calf raise, donkey calf raises… any calf raise in which the leg is straight will work the gastrocnemius.
- Tibialis Anterior
The tibialis anterior is the huge muscle on the frontal part of your lower leg. Do me a favor… look down at the front part of your your lower leg and flex your toe upwards.
As you do this, you'll see the huge muscle contract on the front part of your lower leg right below your knee.
That muscle is the tibialis anterior and you've been missing out on calf growth if you haven't been working that huge muscle group.
The soleus is worked when the leg is bent. For example, seated calf raises work the soleus. During a seated calf raise, the gastocnemius is also worked, but the soleus is the primary muscle group being worked.
Squat raises are one of my secret calf building exercises that most people know nothing about. The link above to the calf muscle exercises explains the squat raise.
Once you start working all 3 of these muscle groups every calf workout…
Your gains will literally double or even triple. Bigger calves become a reality for the first time in your life.
Most people only work one of these muscle groups. Some people work two of them. BUT most never work all 3 of them. You will see the HUGE difference this makes.
Different Calf Blocks Are a MUST… The Extreme Calf Block is MY Personal Favorite BUT You Need a Variety
I use 4 to 5 different calf blocks that I've either purchased or built for my hone gym. Some commercial gyms may have a few different options too.
I've found that the calves really adapt quickly to most calf blocks… Different calf blocks make the calves work differently.
You can feel the HUGE difference in contraction in the calves from block to block.
I have 3 different wooden calf blocks that I made at home with wood. Each one of them gives me a different type of contraction.
I also have the “Extreme Calf Block” — I love that block because it allows you to either get a better peak contraction or a better stretch with a pivoting block. Check it out.
Then, one of my secret weapons for calf raises is to use a balance pad.
A balance pad gives a vastly different contraction and lets you roll on your toes to work an even greater amount of muscle mass. It also works more muscle mass because of the balance factor.
I HIGHLY recommend you get or use several different calf blocks if you want bigger calves. Rotate them as you do different exercises.
Stretching Like This Literally Forces Your Calves To Bloom Like a Tulip in the Spring
After each and every calf exercise, you should be stretching the muscles you just worked.
For example, if you just worked your tibialis anterior — you would stretch it out directly after you finish the last set of the exercise for the tibialis anterior.
Stretching after an exercise really increases the blood flow to the target muscle group and really helps muscle growth.
Stretch them with a little more force than usual — you'll really feel the blood flow to the muscle group.
It's going to burn, but that's what you have to go through to build bigger calves.
You should treat the stretching portion of each workout just as you do the weight lifting portion…
Always try to get better in some way. If that means increasing the force with which you stretch the muscle group or increasing the time that you stretch the muscle group.
Stretching each of the 3 calf muscles is a MUST if you want to build bigger calves.
Weight Increases From Workout to Workout
Let's say that you have chosen Hip Belt Donkey Calf Raises as one of the calf exercises for the gastrocnemius.
Let's say that you start your very first workout with 95 pounds on this exercise.
You complete the exercise at 95 pounds with no problem. The next workout that you do Hip Belt Donkey Calf Raises… What weight are you going to do?
That's where weight increases from workout to workout comes in… the size of each weight increase is very important.
Beginners won't be able to increase the weight as much as experienced people with higher strength levels.
There is a HUGE secret that lies within the strategy we employ here. Larger weight increases lead to larger gains in size. Smaller weight increases from workout to workout lead to larger gains in strength.
Since you want bigger calves, you MUST plan out your weight lifting cycle and use the BIGGEST weight increases that you can.
This means you start with higher reps and lower weight AND then increase the weight and lower the reps as needed throughout the cycle.
For example, I might start with 135 pounds for higher reps and finish with 315 pounds for lower reps.
I might use 15 to 20 pound weight increases between workouts. I don't recommend going any higher than 20-25 pound weight increases.
Beginners should probably use only 5 pound weight increases. It all depends on the individual and their strength levels. If you don't know, stick with smaller weight increases for now.
It's all explained in detail in the muscle building section of the WLC System.
Putting it All Together With the WLC System…
I know you want bigger calves but you also need to be working the rest of your body at the same time. You simply prioritize your calves by working them with the secrets we've discussed on this page.
If your goal is building muscle and not fat loss, then you have a great opportunity to build bigger calves.
All you have to do is follow the guidelines given on this page combined with the WLC System based workouts.
The tips, tricks, and secrets you've learned on this page cannot be found anywhere else. These are secrets I've discovered over the past 10 years during my struggle with building the calves.
The calves are a stubborn muscle group for most people, and now you don't have to struggle building them. I hope you've enjoyed the secrets that lie within this page, and I hope you put them to good use.
You've got to work hard on building bigger calves. Good luck! Your calves will put up a good fight, but you're going to win this battle.