How many reps for calves for mass?

Discussion in 'Training Forum' started by Desibaba, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. Desibaba

    Desibaba Member

    Right now i am training my calves twice a week with 6 sets per workout(3 of standing raises and 3 of seated raises).What are the ideal number of reps to perform if gaining mass is the goal?
  2. Desibaba

    Desibaba Member

    Come on.Its not such a complicated question.Tell me how many reps do you guys perform?
  3. armsports

    armsports Junior Member

    My theory is you train them like you would any other muscle group, i.e. in the range of 8-12 reps for hypertrophy. I know the old school philosophy is high reps but that never worked for me.
  4. Desibaba

    Desibaba Member

    How should the reps be performed? Slow,with constant tension kept on the muscle(this would be done with light weights).Or an explosive movement(in which case a much heavier load could be lifted).???
  5. Hogg

    Hogg Junior Member

    My findings-

    Calves are a resilient muscle group. They can be beaten mercilessly and will recover with very frequent training.

    Calves are stubborn. It is simply not a muscle group that can be trained with 4-6 sets. The number is 10 or more.

    If you do a lot of floor work, you will be on your way to building a big set of calves because supporting load (particularly squatting and pulling) forces you to use your calves to position and stabilize your body...though there are some guys who squat 800# and have 17" or smaller hem...I wont mention his name :D

    Soleus, gastroc, and tibalis anterior need to be kept in balance. If you spend all of your time on the soleus and gastroc, you will eventually develop shin splints. The tibalis does not need 'much' training, but reverse heal raises should be included once a week to prevent strength imbalance.

    The seated calf machine builds the soleus. Most rotary calf machines also build the soleus. The standing and donkey calf machines build the gastroc. Given the foregoing, you should be performing the seated, standing or donkey, and the reverse heal raise as I mentioned earlier though the reverse heal raise can be done once a week.

    How often to train calves?? I'd say 4 days, 2 brutally heavy, 2 lighter.

    How many sets should I do? As I said earlier, a min of 10 but upwards of 12 when you feel compelled. And it is not a case where you need to do all 3 exercises every session, hell, I like parking my ass in the seated calf for a half hour and doing 10 sets. I seem to get the most out of doing one exercise for the session with a lot of load and a lot of volume. it takes 3-4 sets to get up to my weight and by set #9, I'm thinking about taking a plate off. After set 10, I know I did my job.

    How much load ? Some like the higher rep scheme and the logic follows that you walk on your calves all day so rightfully, they should be a higher rep muscle. I dunno, I can see it both ways but prefer to do no more than 10 reps of anything for calves now.

    When you use the seated calf, keep your hands off the handlebars. Put your hands on your hips instead of rowing the handle like the morons're not getting anything out of it when you row the load up with your upper body, let the load drop and simply push it back up with your calves.

    Stretch quite a bit forwards and backwards. the most annoying scenario is those knots that you form in your calves when you dont stretch. It takes forever with ultrasound to get them to release. The best thing to do is to avoid the knots altogether and stretching seems to make a difference.

    That is my advice on calves.
  6. Peace Division

    Peace Division Junior Member

    My calves respond best to heavy weights and low reps. 8x3 or 6x4 making sure to get a long stretch both raising and lowering. Peace.
  7. Willi

    Willi Junior Member

    Calves are more dependent on genetics than any other muscle group. I have very strong calves, but they look rotten. I've busted my butt over many years, yearning for those coveted "diamond peaks", without much luck. I inhereted my old mans calves.

    I know guys, and women, who only have to think about calf training, and the legs grow.

    This is going to be a problem that youy'll have to solve on your own. There is no pat answer....unfortunatly.
  8. Ronin_

    Ronin_ Junior Member

    I agree with what Hogg has said really...

    lots of volume, lots of sets and reps.

    I also think calves respond in me to the gear like nothing else, I really didnt build that great a calf until I started AAS

    Try this routine: a triple superset of seated calf raises to heel raises on the standing calf raise, to standing calf raise.

    Repeat with NO rest, do 15 reps on each exercise, your soleus and gastroc get a 30 second rest when you train the shin but that is all.

    Start on 6 sets of this EOD.

    Each week add one set until you are doing 10 sets. Then every other workout try to increase the reps on EVERY set by 1, until you are doing 10 sets of 20.

    Then add more weight and return to 10 sets of 15.

    Give this a go, it built the most vascular and largest calves Ive had.

    By the time you are doing 10 sets of 15 you are training your calves for 20 minutes non-stop, the burn is very bad but the constant work brings amazing vascularity as I said, my shins and whole calf are covered in cable like veins when I peak on this routine.

    Genetics wise mine suck - they were 13 1/2 inches when I started training. They are a little over 18" now, and cut up at 17
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2003
    Hulksdaddy likes this.
  9. Southernjuice

    Southernjuice Junior Member

    I agree with this as well.....heavy weight! Your calves just like your forearms do high reps and low weight all day long, everyday.In order for your muscles to grow you must shock them and cause them to adapt. People often times look at me crazy in the gym when I'm doing wrist curls with 75-90lb dumbells but my forearms are 16 1/2" compared to their....pencils. :D
  10. glock40_1979

    glock40_1979 Junior Member


    i like 25 reps 2 exercises mon/wed/fri. That always gets mine going .
  11. Ronin_

    Ronin_ Junior Member

    running on the beach between calf workouts is excellent recovery/cross training for the calves

    As far as high reps go - well look a cyclists, they have calves the envy of most body builders
  12. Grizzly

    Grizzly Member

    Don't know. Could be genetics. All I know is that my friend "Big" Tom has HUGE calves, and quads for that matter, and he pretty much just rode his mountain bike all over the place.
  13. Chip Bronson

    Chip Bronson Junior Member

    high-rep calves

    i've tried loads of weight (and still do a heavy workout with low reps from time to time) but i find that my calves respond best to high reps. for my calves i'll pick one exercise per session and do 6-8 sets of 30-40 reps. i get a huge pump and have been able to add size on this program. every few workouts, to change things up a bit, i'll do several sets of 5-10 reps, holding each rep in the contracted position for 10 seconds - this really hurts... at the very least you can benefit by using this approach as a change-up from your regular workout. couldn't hurt.
  14. Phreezer

    Phreezer Member

    This is something that seems to get a lot of differant opinions. It's funny, I've got 20" calves and I only do about 4 sets of 15 reps on a seated calf machine weekly (If I even remember to to train them that week)

    I can tell you right now..If you want to know how to train calves you DON'T ask the guy in the gym with 20+ inch calves...because he probably rarely trains them. And for every BB you ask with 17+ inch calves you'll get that many differant opinions on how to train them.

    If you guys want the best answer, read Hogg's post in this thread..As Usual He offers the best answer...

    If I were to recommend training calves to someone, I would suggest atleast 2 calf workouts a week, one focusing on high rep/moderate weight...and then a Heavy weight with low reps...Maybe even 5x5
  15. JoeMoore

    JoeMoore Junior Member

    Here's what i do. On mondays, i do a straight legged calf raise (standing raises) for the gastroc and on Fridays, i do a seated (bent at the knee) calf raise. I do about 6 sets total. I get the heavy, low rep sets out of the way on the first three and on the last three, i drop the weight considerably and do high reps (20-30) and rest minimully. Hope this helps.
  16. hardcore210

    hardcore210 Junior Member


    Get one of those beasts that you think are sexy, and have them mount you to perform donkey raises. If you're able to get 10 reps, then trade her out for another fatty!

  17. Phreezer

    Phreezer Member

  18. Chip Bronson

    Chip Bronson Junior Member

    or you could ask her to bring a friend over. mmmmm, a jumbo menage a trois... or, given the size of these beasts, would that be menage a quatre?