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How You Can Grow Your Calves: Functionality, Anatomy, 4 Effective Bodyweight Exercises + 4 Tips 


The calves are a very stubborn muscle group. It takes a lot of attention to grow. Here you will find one of the best calf training exercises.

To train your calves effectively requires a lot of work and dedication. Calves, physiologically speaking, are problematic. Most people who go to the gym are frustrated because their calves refuse to grow. They are also difficult to train, the loading parameters being much more restricted than other muscle groups.

Unlike a biceps group, you have a narrow repertoire of exercises on your calves. That’s why you need to be more careful about handling repetitions, sets, and rest intervals to have as much diversity as possible.

Another problem is the small radius of movement of the calves. Let’s say you do squats. This exercise has a very wide range of motion, and you can vary the tempo (the pace at which you go down and up). For example, you can lower yourself in 3, 4, 5, or even 6 seconds.

But when you work your calves, the lowering and lifting take place in a much narrower range of motion, so it is more difficult to vary the lowering time.

In the following article, I will show you how you can grow your calves: I will talk about their functionality, their anatomy, I will show you a workout that will stimulate the growth of even the most stubborn calves. It will consist of 4 bodyweight exercises that truly work, and finally 4 tips.

The training will be performed 2x / week. There is a 48-hour break between workouts. Then everything is repeated every 5 days. For example, you can do the first workout on Tuesday, the second workout on Thursday, and then repeat the whole process the following Tuesday.

Calves Function:

The foot is the point of connection between the human body and the ground. It plays a very important role during static, walking, running, etc. Because during biomechanical actions the legs support the entire weight of the body, they are constantly subjected to certain forces and pressures.

More than 80% of the population at some point in their lives face foot problems. The health of our feet depends on several factors such as activity level, occupation, some diseases, and most importantly – footwear.

The calf muscles ensure the stabilization of the body, keeping it upright and participating in walking. It is due to the calf muscles that all the movements in the sole joint take place: bending/unfolding, forward / backward movement.

Calves Anatomy:

Photo Source: GymLion

To understand how to work for this muscle group, you need some clarification on the anatomy of this part of the body. Stretching between the knees and the soles of the feet, the calf is mainly a bony portion of the body, made up of the tibia and fibula, wrapped in muscles.

The calf muscles fall into three categories:

• Anterior calf muscles

• Posterior calf muscles

• Lateral calf muscles

Anterior calf’s muscles

They are in turn formed by the anterior tibialis muscle, the long extensor muscle of the fingers, the long extensor muscle of the toe, and the third peroneal muscle.

Lateral calf’s muscles

They are formed in turn by the long peroneal muscle and the short peroneal muscle. These muscles are activated by the rotational movements of the legs, as well as by the tension performed when lifting on the toes.

Posterior calf’s muscles

They are the most complex and intensively used, they are placed in two planes: superficial plane (sural and plantar triceps muscles) and deep plane (long flexor muscle of the fingers, posterior tibial, popliteal, and long flexor of the hallux).

All complex foot movements, adduction, inversion, flexion of the toes, or medial rotation of the foot are performed with the help of these muscles.

To avoid stretching, it is recommended that before doing these leg exercises, warm up with a few side lunges or front-back lunges. Then you only need 10 minutes a day to perform the above exercises and to shape your calves.

These calves exercises will strengthen your muscles and help you stay on your feet.

So, let’s start today’s calf training without prolonging it any longer. 

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The 4 exercises from today’s calves training are:

1. Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets / 30 reps

2. Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets / 30 reps

3. Donkey Calf Raise – 3 sets / 30 reps

4. Duck Walk – 10 secs

1. Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets / 30 reps

Photo Source:

It is a very used and effective exercise that requires access to a special device, but if you want to do it at home you can use a backpack filled with books.

How to do it:

• Sit on a chair with the toes on a stable object high enough to allow you to stand on tiptoe without touching the ground with your heels (it can be a thicker perch or 2 thicker books) and place the backpack with weights on your knees. Keep your legs straight. This will be the starting position.

• Bring the heels as close as you can to the ground. Then raise your toes as high as possible. Hold the muscle tight for 2-3 seconds then return. Repeat.

Variations: You can keep the tips inside or outside.

2. Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets / 30 reps

Photo Source: SPOTEBI

Another calf exercise is often used, but this one also requires a special device, but performing the exercise at home will replace the device with a backpack filled with books.

This exercise maximizes the growth of the calf muscle, being necessary to introduce the exercise in your training program.

How to do it:

• The starting position is from standing, taking back the backpack filled with weights, books), approaching a solid object to hold on to (it can be a piece of furniture), putting in front of it a stable object and quite high enough to allow you to get up on the tops without touching the ground with your heels (it can be a thicker perch. Don’t hump yourself and stay as straight as possible.

• Position your toes on the thick bar and lift your heels by extending your ankles as high as you can. The knees should stay in place all the time, they should not bend at all. Hold the contraction for 2 seconds before returning.

Variations: You can hold the tips inside or outside, to work the muscles from different angles.

3. Donkey Calf Raise – 3 sets / 30 reps

Photo Source: Fitness Volt

An exercise with a funny name, but very effective. It is an old exercise, used by bodybuilders who did not have as many machines available as today. You will need a partner to do this, or in his absence, you can fill a backpack with books.

How to do it:

• For this exercise you will need someone to help you. First look for a solid object to hold on to, and place in front of it a stable object high enough to allow you to rise to the top without touching the ground with your heels (it can be a thicker perch or 2 thicker books).

• Position the toes on the stable and high object, and the heels protrude outwards. Bend down and lean against the object in front of you. Your partner will climb on your back, sitting with his bottom on his back, in the coccyx area (or in the absence of a partner, use the backpack filled with books). This is the starting position.

• Raise your heels by extending your ankles as high as you can. The knees should stay in place all the time, they should not bend at all. Hold the contraction for 2 seconds before returning.

• Lower to the starting position slightly, controlled, until the legs are fully extended. Repeat.

4. Duck Walk

Photo Source: YouTube

I think everyone did the duck walk at school. So, you know how difficult it can be. With this exercise, you work your buttocks and legs and burn a ton of calories.

How to do it:

• Stand shoulder-width apart.

• Bend your knees and kneel until you almost touch your heels.

• Start walking as low as you can.

• After you have covered the proposed distance, take a break and repeat.

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4 Tips for Training Your Calves:

1. Train your calves more often! If they stagnate in growth, work them 3 times a week.

2. Add volume. More sets, reps, and exercises.

3. Work the calf muscles from several positions.

4. Introduce intensity techniques in calves training: slow pace and isometric breaks.

Last Thoughts:

Do you want developed and strong calves? Work for them!

Too few have an enviable genetic inheritance in the structure of the calves.

The good news is that you can improve this genetic endurance by training this stubborn muscle if you do not choose to work the parts of the body that grow more easily.

Believe me guys, after this workout you’ll feel the burn in your calves.

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