Tip: The Toughest Bodyweight Calf Exercise

Try this at the end of your workouts and watch your lower legs grow.


Regardless of your genetics, your toothpick calves can be improved. Try this bodyweight finisher.

Calf Crampers

  1. Grab a pole or rig and hold yourself in a squat position.
  2. Tip toe your heels up like you're a ballerina. You'll naturally feel a nasty contraction without consciously trying.
  3. Push into the ground with your toes for about two seconds before slowly lowering. Go as low as your ankle mobility allows.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

The Benefits

These replicate a seated calf raise machine, but with a more gnarly contraction in the shortened position. In theory, you'll target your neglected soleus, but after a set or two you'll feel your entire calf cramp up, hence the name.

This is a finisher exercise, so they make the most sense to do at the end of a workout. I recommend a high frequency, high volume, and high-intensity approach.

Do 2-3 sets to failure 3-6 times per week. Stretch your calves between sets if the cramping gets to be too much.

And no, you don't need to worry about overtraining your calves. Most guys are guilty of undertraining their calves year-round.