“Help! So I’m a fit guy, I do weights at the gym three times a week, cardio two times a week and I train my kid’s baseball team and I eat clean. Problem is that I can’t seem to bulk my calves up they’re just plain skinny and I’m really embarrassed and don’t like to wear shorts. I just don’t get it I’m ripped from the torso up and look good but no matter what I do my legs let me down. Chad can you help me? Thanks in anticipation.”
– Luca Di’Martino
Thanks for the question Luca!
Skinny calves have been a curse to many a man.
In general terms, calf shape and size is genetic and highly variable. You’ve probably seen some guys whose calves seem to sprout out right above their ankles and other guys who have a long Achilles tendon and their calves look like a little KFC drumstick, with nothing more than a little knot of meat behind the knee.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing to do about the length of you calves and the Achilles tendon. However, regardless of the genetic limitations, we can certainly improve the size of the calves and achieve a more balanced look.
I recommend jumping rope as a warmup for your 3 gym workouts.
Also, the calves work tremendously hard to stabilize loads when squatting and deadlifting. So if your leg training has been centered around the leg press press leg extension, you should definitely start squatting and deadlifting. (And it won’t just be your calves that benefit!)
Of course, the basic standing calf raise is a great exercise, but I’d make sure you go heavy for lower reps and do more overall sets than doing light, high rep sets.
Hamstring exercises that flex the knee like leg curls also hit the calves hard. My favorite is the Glute/Ham Raise if your gym is fortunate enough to have one.
Lastly, loaded carries like Farmer’s Walks are also an excellent way to hit the calves while working your core and conditioning!
Do at two or three of these exercises every workout and your calves will be on their way to becoming cows in no time!
Thanks for the question Luca, that’s it for this segment of Ask Chad.