How to Get Big Calves!
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; Hungry is often told that he has really nice calves. Whether it was cheerleaders on the sidelines during his high school basketball games or bros in the gym in Los Angeles, a lot of people have a tendency to stare at Hungry’s calves. Calves are often seen as one of the hardest muscle groups to successfully train, and as a result, a lot of people end up asking, what do you do for your calves?
I normally disappoint them when I mention that I don’t have a calf day, or specific exercises that I need to do on leg day to develop the size and definition in my calves. I almost always disappoint them when I let them know that I never saw any significant growth in my calves since they have grown steadily throughout my life. I had the upper body of a stick figure in high school, and even though my upper legs were also small, my calves were massive. It led to a lot of shin splints during my years in high school and even early college days, but that’s a tale for another time.
You’re here because you want to know how to get big calves. Sports did it for me. I grew up on my toes. Coaches often tell their players to stay on the balls of their feet, and if you think about it, every single time you lift your heel off the ground like that, you’re doing some variant of a calf raise or toe press. Thousands of repetitions a day, practicing sports every day of the year, every year of your life, is going to have a significant impact on your development, right? A lot more than 4 sets of 30 reps on the seated calf raise machine twice a week for a few months, right?
Training calves can certainly be challenging. While we can’t say for certain whether someone’s inability to grow calves is genetic or not, bodies definitely respond to stimulation in different ways. Building calves will take a lot of patience for most, so please don’t expect to see inches pack on in weeks. It is important to start with standard hypertrophy work and see how you respond. Measure them with a Myotape every 4 weeks or so, for about 12 weeks, before considering changing your training approach in any way. Make sure to train the muscles in the front of your lower leg as well, to avoid imbalances and future shin splints.
Finally, even though we’re not telling you to take a time machine to your childhood and play soccer/tennis/basketball every day, you might want to consider taking up one or more of these sports in your adult life in order to further development and help maintain mobility in the ankle joint throughout your training. Also, one of Hungry’s secret weapons is skipping rope. He’s done it throughout his entire life and claims it must have contributed to his calf size. Let us know what you do to train your calves in order to stay hungry and fit!