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How to get bigger calves

April 8, 2022


Of all the muscles there are, we find some that we have problems developing, often because they are not trained with the right frequency and intensity, and other times because we give up training them in order to develop other muscle groups. In today's post we are going to focus on the calves and the muscular area around them, extremely important and that many people do not know how to develop properly.


Calves are by far one of the most difficult muscles to develop if you haven't been graced with genetically huge ones. Given that the calves are used to working almost constantly because we use them in every step we take, when training them the effort is scarce and therefore the stimulus to hypertrophy is not enough.


However, the calves play a great role in our body, as they are the ones that allow the extension of the sole of the foot and provide stability to the ankle, so their strength is important if we want to prevent injuries and walk, run or pedal with good results.


The reason why some people tend to have small calves that basically refuse to grow no matter what they do, while other people develop bulging calves with little training reside in the muscle fiber’s type. There are two primary groups of muscle fibers:

  • Type 1 also known as slow-twitch fibers. The muscle fibers have the least growth potential, but are very dense, capillary-rich, and rich in mitochondria and myoglobin, making them highly resistant to fatigue.

  • Type 2 also known as fast-twitch fibers. The muscle fibers have a much higher growth potential than type 1 fibers, but they fatigue very quickly.


Studies show that the muscle fibers of the calves can vary in composition depending on the type of person. One person's calves may be composed of up to 60% type 2 muscle fibers, while others can be made up of as little as 15%. And so the former will find it very easy to add mass to his calves, but the latter will find it very difficult.


Furthermore, studies have also shown that the ratio of type 1 and type 2 fibers in various muscles is determined by how we primarily use these muscles. As the calves are used primarily in low-intensity activities, such as walking, jogging, or cycling, there is a greater need for type 1 fibers than type 2 fibers.


To increase the calves muscle volume we should use high weight loads with relatively low reps. They should be trained with a wide variety of exercises, whether on a machine, seated, on the press, etc. This will help us train the calves at all angles and make full movements that will allow us to develop better. Also, to workout the calves correctly, we must have our legs straight, without any type of flexion, thus achieving a perfect contraction and obtaining an optimal extension of the muscle.


We have to understand that to develop the muscles located below the knee area, we have to work more areas apart from the calves, such as the soleus and tibialis muscles. The soleus and tibialis muscles are composed mainly of slow-twitch fibers, this means we want to use light loads and high repetitions.


Unlike the soleus, which takes several days to recover, calves do so in about 24 hours, although you must bear in mind that when training legs, with exercises such as squats or deadlifts, you are using your calves, so I do not recommend that you train more than 3 times a week, the ideal is 2 to 3 times a week depending on your recovery capacity.


Like any muscle that we want to develop, we must give it priority, and this means not doing a couple of series at the end of the workout when we are exhausted, instead, doing it the first thing in our training session, while we are full of energy and willing to give everything in those series of calves.

For more information, talk to one of our Fitness Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn app or Mavyn Fitness page.