It has been said that great calves are determined almost exclusively by genetics; you’re either born with them, or you’re not.

This might be true for great calves or it might not be, I don’t know. But it certainly isn’t true for good calves.

If you’re looking for some general training rules for the oft-forgotten lower leg muscles, Catanzaro of can help you out:

Here's what you need to know...

  • Hit your calves from all angles by changing your stance and exercise choices.

  • If you just "throw in" some calf work every once in a while, they won't grow. Train calves at the beginning of every workout.

  • Calves recover very quickly. They can and should can be trained often, especially if yours suck.

  • Don't go too heavy or accentuate the eccentric (lowering) action. A muscle can take a beating pretty much every day if you stimulate it, not annihilate it.

  • "Knockout sets" involve a form of rest-pause training. The goal is to perform 75-100 reps using a 20RM load.

He also gives a full breakdown of how to prefrom the “knockout sets”:

For each exercise, you'll do one extended set of 75-100 reps at the beginning of every workout. Here's how it works:

  1. Load a calf/tibialis raise machine with a weight that you would normally use for a 20-rep set.

  2. Start the set and do as many reps as you can using a quick, steady tempo with no emphasis on the lowering part of the movement.

  3. Once you hit failure, rest 10 seconds, and then continue until you can't do another rep.

  4. Proceed in this manner until you achieve a total of 75 reps.

You can find the full article here. 

Header image via flickr, Lukemn.