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6 Strength Exercises That Build Killer Calves

Frankly, the calf muscles are insanely stubborn and a pain in the ass to grow, which is why most people stop focusing on them altogether. Genetics and a predisposition to explosive calf growth do play a surprisingly large role in that, but equally—if not more so—calf issues are predicated on the willy nilly, uncalculated, half-assed nature at which most people attack the muscle group.

The process is simple. 6 strength exercises that build killer calves , progressive calf work onto the tail end of leg day and you’ll quickly sprout lumps on the backside of your lower legs.
And do it on a regular basis and you’ll gradually build mountainous, diamond-shaped calves that’ll make socks feel like asphyxiation chambers.


This calf exercise will strengthen the gastrocnemius muscles.

While holding onto something to maintain balance, step onto a calf block, or some object which allows you to extend down for a full range when on the balls of your feet, and allow your heels to hang off the edge. Keeping your legs straight, slowly lower yourself down as far as possible. Hold this position for a moment and then slowly raise back up as high as you can while on the balls of your feet and toes. Hold for a moment and repeat.

You can also perform this exercise on one leg to further develop your calf muscles individually as you will be placing your total body weight on one calf at a time.


This exercise primarily works the gastrocnemius muscles and secondarily the soleus muscles.

Stand on a raised block with the balls of your feet and your legs spread shoulder width apart. Bend over to form a 90° angle, resting your hands on a weight bench or chair. A training partner will then sit on your hips like they’re riding a donkey. Lower yourself down as far as you can and hold for a moment. Slowly lift yourself back up and as high as you can on the balls of your feet and toes. Hold a moment and repeat.


No surprise here, of course.

The barbell back squat is hands down the most effective leg exercise you can do for building overall size and strength.

Many people think of it as just a leg exercise but it’s much more than that–it’s a whole-body exercise, really, because it engages every muscle group but your chest.

It must be performed correctly, however. Bad squat form not only makes the exercise less effective, it increases the risk of injury.


This is another calf exercise machine designed for primarily working out the soleus muscles of the leg while providing secondary stress to the gastrocnemius muscles. If you do not have access to a machine, you can complete this exercise by sitting on a weight bench with a weighted barbell laid across your knees. You should wrap the barbell in a towel for comfort.

Add the desired amount of weight to the calf exercise machine. Sit on the machine and situate your knees so they are secure and comfortable against the knee pads. With the balls of your feet on the foot block, raise your legs as far as you can on the balls of your feet and toes. Hold for a moment and slowly lower your heels down as far as possible. Hold for a moment and repeat.


Although the lunge is generally thought of as a quadriceps exercise, research shows it relies more on the hamstring and glutes.

Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile inclusion in your leg workouts.


The leg press is another worthwhile machine for leg training and for building quadriceps strength in particular.

Add these calf exercises into your weight training program and you will have killer calves to balance out the ripped look of your lower body.