How To Build Calf Muscles

Calf Workouts

It seems as though, of all the muscles of the body, calves can be the most difficult to develop.  No muscle group is more genetic dependent than calves.  Not only that but calves are built to endure all kinds of punishment from daily life.  They are a difficult muscle to fatigue, and therefor are difficult to develop in the gym.

There are two basic exercises to build the calves.  There are standing calf raises, and seated calf raises.  The two main muscles of the calf are the gastrocnemius and the soleus.  The gastrocnemius is worked when you are standing (extended knee).  The soleus is hit when your seated (bent knee).

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So how do we take these two basic exercises and develop a world class pair of calves?  Enter John Parrillo.  Years ago Parrillo developed a pair of excruciating high rep calf workouts.  This program has largely been forgotten, not because it was ineffective, but because it was BRUTAL!

Parrillo’s Calf Routine used two main exercises trisetted with squatting calf raises and fascial calf stretches.  Because of the tendency for calves training to result in DOMS, Parrillo suggested 2 day on/1 day off for these workouts.

Workout 1 (Soleus Training)

  1. Seated Calf Raises/Bent Leg Toe Press X 100
  2. Squatting Calf Raises X 50
  3. Calf Stretches X 1min
Workout 2 (Gastrocnemius Training)
  1. Standing Calf Raises/Straight Leg Toe Press X 100
  2. Squatting Calf Raises X 50
  3. Calf Stretches X 1min

The first exercise for either workout  is the main focus.  Considering that you will be doing 100 reps you will have to choose your weight wisely.  You will also have to focus on performing quality reps during the first 30-40 since the weight will be very light.

Obviously these are trisets, so once you finish your 100th rep you immediately do squatting calf raises.  Your goal here is to do 50, but after the 100 rep set you will be lucky to do 15 reps.
Just consider the reps a goal to get too.

Immediately after finishing the squatting calf raises hobble over to a high block of some kind and get into the low position of a standing calf raise.  Hold that stretch for at least 15secs, then stretch the other leg.  Once again you eventual goal is to be able to hold the stretch for a minute per leg.

For each of your calf workouts you should do two trisets of each main movement.  So for workout 1, you should do two trisets of seated calf raises, and then two trisets of bent leg two presses.  The same goes for workout 2.  Do two trisets of standing calf raises, and two trisets of straight leg toe raises.

If you survive these trisets, you should slowly work your way up to 4 trisets per main exercise.   Once you are able to handle that workload, your calf workouts and your calf development will be taken to a whole new level.  Make no mistake, these calf workouts are extreme, but so is the results they produce.



1 Comment

  1. Steve Hilliard

    Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks


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