Bulls of Steel: The Last Calves Workout You Will Ever Need

Bulls of Steel: The Last Calves Workout You Will Ever Need

How many times have you heard this type of statement?

Calf muscle size is highly genetic. Most of us either have calf size or we don't. There is not much you can do to improve your calves if they are genetically inferior.

Comments like these are usually followed by workout advice. Let me clarify. Comments like these are usually followed by mediocre workout advice that will do little to grow your calves.

If your calves aren't growing, adding in 3 sets by 15 reps of some random calf exercises isn't going to do jack squat. Period, end of story. I also don't believe that changing your foot angle (toes in, toes out, etc.) is going to help you much if your calf gains suck.

Related: The Calves Workout Routine That Can't Fail

Why would it make sense to use the same old tired and boring calves workout?

In my opinion, if your calves are small and stubborn the last thing you need is a typical plan of attack. So let's try something different. Let's assault your calves with a 3-pronged attack:
  • Heavyweight sets
  • Training frequency
  • Low-intensity volume

You won't find any 3 sets by 15 reps nonsense here. We will be entering the calves workout fray with our guns blazing.

Calves Raises

Heavy Weight Sets. When's the last time you dedicated a complete year to making your calves as strong as humanly possible? I'm guessing you've never had this type of intense focus.

When it comes to calves workouts most trainees focus on reps, reps and more reps. You never hear anyone proclaim: Bro, I just got my seated calf raise up to 315 x 8 reps.

That's exactly what we're going to do here.

You will start each calf workout with heavy sets. Perform 5 sets x 8 reps for the heavy exercise. When you are able to nail 8 reps for each of these sets, add 5 pounds. Yes, only 5 pounds.

We are going to be training calves frequently. While 5 pounds doesn't seem like a lot of weight, you have the potential to add 500 pounds to this lift over the course of the coming year by simply remaining steadfast. So be patient, trust the process, and add weight when you can.

Your calves are going to get brutally strong, and they will grow.

Training Frequency. One calf workout per week? Not happening here. You're going to be targeting calves 3 times a week. If this sounds like too many calf workouts, you probably aren't ready to grow those bulls.

I suggest hitting calves something like this:

  • Monday - Calves Workout, Heavy Exercise A
  • Wednesday - Calves Workout, Heavy Exercise B
  • Friday - Calves Workout, Heavy Exercise A
The following week will be:
  • Monday - Calves Workout, Heavy Exercise B
  • Wednesday - Calves Workout, Heavy Exercise A
  • Friday - Calves Workout, Heavy Exercise B
Low-Intensity Volume. This one's going to sound a bit wonky, but trust me here. We are going to merge your cardio with your calves workouts by performing 8-12 inch step-ups.

Instead of performing cardio three times a week, you are going to hammer out 20 minutes of step-ups to cap off each calf workout. Your calves are going to get battered hard with this volume, acting as a huge burn set that will tax your already fatigued calves.

I performed step-ups for a decade and I believe they are a prime reason I currently have solid and sizable calves. The action of stepping up and stepping down will work those bulls hard. Step-ups are also great for your glutes and your heart.

Calves Workout

You will be alternating between 2 calves workouts. Stick to this for a year, focus on progression and train calves like you've never trained them before.

Find your passion. Approach calves like you were training for a 600 pound squat or 400-pound bench press. Get hungry. Get aggressive. Tear it up.

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Standing Barbell Calf Raise. Using straps or Versa Gripps, unrack a barbell and hold it in front of you like you were about to perform shrugs. Now, instead of shrugging we're going to perform calf raises.

Press up on your toes and perform 5 sets of 8 reps. Add 5 pounds when you are able to knock out a quality 8 reps per set.

Step-Ups. Alternate legs. Right, leg up, right leg down. Left leg up, left leg down.

Standing Calf Machine. When you are able to perform 3 sets x 20 reps, add weight.
Heavy Day A
Calves Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Calf Raise  5  8
Standing Calf Machine or Leg Press Calf Press  3  20
Step-Ups - 20 minutes

Heavy Day B
Calves Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raise  5  8
Standing Calf Machine or Leg Press Calf Press  3  20
Step-Ups - 20 minutes
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