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Struggling with stubborn calves that refuse to grow? We get it. 

Those lower leg muscles can be a challenge, but fear not — we’ve got a straightforward protocol to kickstart your calf training and achieve those gains you’ve been longing for.

1. Tempo is key

Slow. It. Down. For each rep, take at least 2 seconds to lower your calves and hold the stretch position for 2 seconds. This intentional approach ensures you’re maximizing the engagement of stubborn calves.

2. Frequency matters

If you want to grow them, you can’t neglect them. Train calves 2-3 times a week to keep the stimulation consistent. Frequency is crucial when dealing with a muscle group that might be more resistant to growth.

3. Seated vs standing calf raise

By incorporating 2 exercises into each workout — one with a bent knee and one with a straight leg — you ensure comprehensive development as the diversification targets different parts of the calf muscles. 

Bent knee variations focus more on the soleus, which plays an important role in stabilising the ankle and improving ankle mobility but is often neglected. Straight leg variations target both the soleus and the more prominent gastrocnemius that adds mass to your lower legs.

4. Set and rep range for results

Strike a balance between building strength and promoting muscle hypertrophy by keeping it focused with 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps for each exercise. 

5. Prioritize your calves

Give your calves the attention they deserve by starting your workouts with calf exercises. Don’t relegate them to the end of your routine — or worse, skip them altogether. When you make calves a priority, you’ll see the difference.

Stubborn calf workout

Here’s a calf workout that’ll make even the most stubborn calves grow.

  1. 10 reps with 3 second hold in top position (tip toes)
  2. 10 reps with 3 second hold in bottom position (stretch)
  3. 10 reps with no pause

P.S. Work up to doing 3 sets. 

P.P.S. Work up to doing 3 sets 3 times a week before adding weight.

The bottom line

There are no magic tricks or hidden secrets. Calves respond to hard work and dedication, just like any other muscle group. By training them diligently and ensuring a full range of motion with a special emphasis on the stretch, you’ll see growth.

For more workouts, try Ganbaru’s 7-day free trial.

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