Having giant calves is the goal for a lot of gym-goers out there.
It’s also one of the hardest goals to accomplish in the gym.
The reason being is it is highly dependent on genetics.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t maximize what you were born with.
In this video, ALLMAX athlete Steve Kuclo teaches us all the exercises he likes to use to build his freakishly large calves.
4 Exercises for Bigger Calves
The exercises below can be performed individually or as part of a whole calf building workout program. For those who choose to perform this as a program, tack it on to the end of your workouts 2-4xs per week.
And if you don’t want to perform it as an entire program and still want to grow bigger calves, aim to incorporate some of these exercises into your workouts as frequently as possible (up to nearly every training day).
1. Standing Calf Raise
The first exercise Steve starts off with is the standing calf raise. The important thing with this exercise, and all calf exercises, is getting a full range of motion. So many people cut the rep short on calf raises.
Steve also recommends forgetting about foot placement. A lot of folks recommend toes out or in – Steve suggests keeping the toes pointed straight to work the whole calf.
When entering the machine, keep the balls of your feet on the platform and start out with a full stretch on the calves. Then, go all the way up on your toes with a slight bend in the knees. Hold for a second and repeat for 4 sets of 15-20 reps.
2. Leg Press Calf Raise
The next movement Steve does for calves is the calf raise via leg press. A lot of gyms don’t have a whole lot of equipment designated for training the calves. Nearly every gym, however, will have a leg press.
To do a proper rep with the leg press, you put the balls of your feet on the bottom of the leg press. From there, keep a slight bend in your knees. Doing both these things will help you get a good stretch in your calf muscles.
Then, make sure to push all the way onto your toes. Repeat this for every rep, pausing at both the bottom and top of the rep. Perform these for 4 sets of 15-20 reps.
3. Seated Calf Raise
The third movement is one of Steve’s favorites and it’s the seated calf raise.
The biggest mistake people make when performing this exercise is placing the pads on top of the knees. Instead, Steve recommends keeping the pads more on the quads.
Place the ball of your foot on the foot platform. Take the weight all the way down until you get a full stretch on the calves. Then bring the weight on top of your toes. Pause for 1-2 seconds at both the top and bottom of the rep.
4. Smith Machine Standing Calf Raise
The fourth and final movement is a smith machine standing calf raise. This is a variation you can perform if your gym doesn’t have a standing calf raise machine. It’s also one you can use in a unilateral fashion to correct any strength or size imbalances you may have in your calves.
To be able to increase the range of motion, you’ll need to get a pad or platform. Get under the bar as you would a squat. Place the ball of your foot onto the platform. Keep one of your feet free and perform the full range of motion with the active leg.
Steve likes to perform 3-4 sets of each of the exercises with 15-25 reps per set.
For those really trying to build calves, he recommends utilizing these exercises as a full program at least twice per week.