Calves are the muscles located in the posterior portion below our knees. They are surprisingly underrated as one of the main muscle groups. When it comes to exercise to make the calves bigger and muscular, most people seem to ignore it as many of them find it not-so-necessary look-wise, and the rest of them find it too boring to exercise for calves. But, if you are planning to go towards bodybuilding career or even if you are a novice or amateur athlete, you need your calves to uplift your fitness levels. A set of muscular calves not only makes your leg strong and fit for any type of movement but also helps you to become a complete bodybuilder. So, let’s know what are the best exercises for calves to get big and muscular calves in order to make you fitter as an athlete or look better as a bodybuilder.
Standing Calf Raise (Bodyweight, Dumbbell & Barbell)
Standing calf raise is one of the most popular and best exercises for calves. Even people who don’t work out calves have heard the name of this exercise. If you didn’t do any exercise of calves then you should start with bodyweight calf raise which you can do anywhere and anytime. Just hold anything to support your upper body and start raising your calves. A bar is considered the best thing to hold while performing bodyweight calf raises.
Anyway, 12 to 15 repetitions per set are the best way to target your calves. When you will be habituated with the bodyweight version, go with a couple of dumbbells and start doing dumbbell calf raises to put more tension on your calves. And finally, when your calves will be strong enough to endure a barbell, put a barbell on your shoulder with as much weight as your calves can lift and start performing barbell calf raises. While bodyweight calf raise is best for beginners, barbell calf raise is best for advanced lifters, athletes and bodybuilders. You can also use single-leg standing calf raises but in our opinion, it is time-consuming and works the same as the standard one.
Seated Calf Raise
If standing calf raise is the father of all the calf exercises then seated calf raise is the mother. It is definitely one of the best exercises for calves that you should not miss. Actually, both these exercises have different benefits. And, believe me, you need both of them if you want to build muscular calves. Calf muscle groups are divided into 2 main muscles which are the gastrocnemius, the big diamond-shaped one, and the soleus, the piece of muscle on the side of the big one.
While standing calf raises target primarily the bigger one, seated calf raises mainly target the smaller one. So, if you need fully developed and muscular calves then you need both of them. Anyway, if your gym has the seated calf raise machine then it’s great but if not then you have to rely on either a leg press machine or dumbbells. The leg press machine is the best alternative as it works best for this exercise to put maximum tension on the calves by giving you the opportunity to lift heavier weights. 12 to 15 reps per set is enough to put your calves, especially soleus under construction.
Agility ladder is a unique exercise and I personally love it. It is one of the most popular exercises among fitness enthusiasts, professional athletes and sportspersons. Agility ladder is awesome when it comes to improve your overall fitness, and agility, and tone your abdominal area and lower body. It also promotes cardiovascular health as it is a good cardio exercise too.
Anyway, with agility ladder exercise, you can build strong and muscular calves as it helps you to target your lower body especially your calves and quads. By the way, if you don’t have agility ladder in your gym or home then you can draw the ladder with chalk on the floor to make a great alternative of that gear. When you complete the full ladder one time, that’s one reputation. Start from little and increase the intensity gradually as you progress and as your calves become stronger.
Sprinting is a high-intensity exercise that is considered one of the best when it comes to strengthen your lower body as well as your heart. So, it is no doubt that it is one of the best exercises for calves as well as other leg muscles like glutes and quads. Moreover, sprinting is pretty good cardio too. Unfortunately sprinting may not be ideal if you are focusing on gaining size and building muscles only.
But, if you want strong, healthy, endurable calves along with other leg muscles which help you to enhance your fitness significantly then you should start sprinting daily. Start with 30 seconds to 1 minute of sprint and gradually increase it to 3-5 minutes as your muscles will become habituated to it day by day. Rest for 15 to 30 would be ideal to keep your muscles pumped continually. If you are an athlete then you should not miss this excellent versatile exercise to make your multiple muscles strong and tough including calves obviously.
If you are thinking skipping rope is one of the cardio exercises then you are wrong. Not only skipping rope is one of the best cardio exercises but also it is one of the best exercises for calves as it helps to make your calves strong, endurable, and obviously, muscular. If you are a beginner, you can do skipping ropes 20 and then rest for 30 seconds then another set. If you are already habituated with calf exercises like calf raises then you can do skipping daily or in the starting of the calf exercises.
If you are focusing on muscle building only then doing this exercise on your leg day is enough for you which means, you have to skip ropes on your leg day when you exercise for calves. If you are an athlete and want to make your calves strong and endurable then skipping daily is a pretty good idea to keep continuous tension on your calves in order to make them tough as well as strong.
Read More: Best Cardio Exercises You Should Perform Now
Therefore, these are the 5 best exercises for calves you should include in your leg day to get big, muscular and strong calves which help you to enhance your fitness level as an athlete and make you more complete as a bodybuilder. Include 2 or 3 exercises from this list of your preference in your workout session to gain muscles in the calves fast. Also, don’t forget to learn the forms of the exercises properly from your coach to avoid injuries. Anyway, hopefully, you have found this article about best exercises for calves helpful enough. If it really so then don’t hesitate to express your valuable thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for visiting and appreciating our work.