Tip: How To Do Every Rep of a Calf Exercise

To build calves, every single rep needs to have four steps. Here they are.

To build calves, you have to increase their trainability – their potential to improve. Calves have three things that reduce their trainability:

  1. A short range of motion, which means each rep has a very short time under tension.
  2. A super strong stretch reflex, which can take over more than two thirds of the already short range of motion.
  3. A high level of adaptability since you use them every day.

You need to attack the first two elements. So, do every rep in a way to increase the time under tension and get rid of the contribution of the stretch reflex so that the muscles do all the work.

Do Every Rep Like This

  1. Hold the stretch position (the "bottom" of most calf exercises) for two seconds to get rid of the stretch reflex. Try to maintain tension – it's not a passive stretch.
  2. Do the whole range of motion slowly, especially the beginning of the reps. Avoid accelerating.
  3. Hold the peak contracted position (the "top" of most calf exercises) for two seconds. Squeeze the muscle hard.
  4. When you lower the weight back down try to maintain maximum muscle tension. Resist while you perform a fairly slow negative.

Here's pro-bodybuilder Mark Dugdale doing something very much like this:

A Superset for Fast Calf Growth

Have access to a Prowler or weighted sled? Try this:

  • A1 Seated Calf Raise – 10-12 reps as explained above, no rest
  • A2 Heavy Prowler Pushing – For 30 seconds under load

Rest 2 minutes and repeat 2-3 more times.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.