Get bigger calves for bigger legs: THE best calf exercise tips revealed

Give these often forgotten muscles the respect they deserve

get calves fast top tips calf exercises grow your calves
(Image credit: Fitbit)

Large calves may be at least partly down to genetics – you'll find that some people who ride bikes get huge calves as a result, whereas pro cyclists tend to have very  lean ones, albeit lean like a length of coiled steel. If you're not one of the Big Calf Men, even if you employ the best leg exercises, you are likely to find that even as your thighs balloon, your calves stay looking remarkably unworked. But don't have a cow; we are here to help with your calves. 

Top 3 tips to train your calves

There is a point after months of fruitless sessions on the calf press machine when you decide it is time to look into the subject a bit more. I will tell you a secret: there is a way to actually work out your calves and make progress. I wish someone told me this before; I would have the monstrous calves of a young Arnie by now. 

Best calf exercises workouts

No need to die under a pile of plates to grow those calves

(Image credit: Unsplash)

1. Up the rep range

We have all been told the best rep range for muscle growth is 8-12 reps per set. It is all well for most muscle groups, but not for calves. Calves are one of the few muscles you use every day to literally lift your whole bodyweight, so they are accustomed to excessive training.

In order to put some extra pressure on these muscles, try doing 15 reps per set. This will activate the muscles more, something you will feel after each set and definitely the day after, so consider investing in a Theragun percussive massager.

2. EVERY day is calves day

Want bigger calves? Do calf raises every single time you are in the gym. It is easy to sneak in a calf raise exercise at the end of each session in the gym. Just hit the calf press after you've finished working on your pecs.

You will find the calf press machine in the corner of the gym that nobody visits. It is the mythical land Mufasa mentions to Simba in The Lion King; the part over the mountains the sun never touches. So hopefully you won't have to queue.

3. Tiptoe is the way to go

It's also simple to work on your calves when you train other muscle groups. If you ever do an exercise that involves standing up, just go up on your tiptoes and super-set that exercise with calf raises. 

Just think about it: you are half-repping standing hammer bicep curls already with those 20 kg dumbbells in your hands. You might as well do a full-rep with 40 kg on your calves. Easy-peasy.

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Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.