How To Get Bigger Calves: Everything You Need to Know 

“How to get bigger calves” is a highly popular search term in the fitness scene, and there is good reason why. 

Calves can be one of the most difficult muscle groups to grow, and without the right information, you might never get a pair of calves that you can truly be proud of.  

This is why we created this article.  

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to get bigger calves based on personal experience as well as scientific data, as well as give you a few tips and tricks to make your journey go faster. 

Let’s dive into it and take a look at how to get bigger calves. 

What Causes Small Calves and What Can You Do to Make Them Bigger? 

Small calves can be a result of many factors, but perhaps the most noticeable is genetics.  

Genetics plays a huge role in calf development, and it can mean the difference between having bodybuilder-like calves without ever hitting the gym or “chicken legs”. 

We will touch upon a couple more factors that can cause small calves later on in this article; but more importantly, what can we do about it? 

There are three main things you need if you want to learn how to get bigger calves; you need to be in a caloric surplus (eat more calories than your body needs to maintain your current body weight), eat enough protein (0.8g per pound of body weight per day), and do calf workouts on a regular basis.

To find out how many calories you need to gain calf muscle, go to our free online calorie calculator and select the goal that suits you best. 

From here, it’s just about putting everything we just said into practice.  

Many people completely forgo diet, instead focusing completely on working out.  

This is not going to get you anywhere. 

If you don’t eat in a caloric surplus or consume enough protein, you will struggle to put on any calf muscle at all. 

The calves are just like any other muscle, and if you eat right and train hard, they WILL grow.  

6 Tips to Get Bigger Calves 

1. Train Calves for 2-4 Weeks Straight 

Something peculiar about calves is that they require much less recovery time than other muscle groups. 

While it is generally recommended to leave 48 hours between training different muscle groups, calves can often recover in 24 hours or less. 

This means that if you want to get a head start on your calf growth, you might want to train them for 2-4 weeks straight just to get that initial muscle.  

2. Train Before Bed 

An easy way to make sure your calf training doesn’t interfere with your day or regular training is to just train before bed. 

Calf training is quite low-impact, meaning you are unlikely to disrupt your sleep by doing it right before bed. 

It will also give you a time that you can dedicate to training calves, increasing the chances that you will stick to your routine.   

3. Walk on Your Tiptoes More 

Something as simple as walking on your tiptoes more often can actually increase the size of your calves if you do it on a regular basis. 

Like we said before, calves can recover incredibly quickly, and even if you walk on your tiptoes for ten minutes at a time multiple times a day, you are likely going to be just fine.  

4. Calf Raises on Stairs 

If you do not have any equipment or are not a member of your local gym, you don’t need to worry. 

Doing calf raises on stairs is going to be just as effective as other calf exercises if you keep up the intensity, and this means you have everything you need to get bigger calves without ever leaving the house.  

5. Do 2 Calf Workouts per Week (Heavy and Light) 

For more advanced trainees, it’s a good idea to do at least one heavy and one light calf workout every week. 

Varying up your workouts is a necessity as an advanced trainee, as you will inevitably run into multiple plateaus if you don’t. 

The body learns to adapt, and the only way to continue to progress is by mixing up your training and providing new stimuli.  

6. Train Barefoot 

Training barefoot can allow you to get a better range of motion when doing calf exercises, leading to superior calf growth and strength over time.  

It might sound simple, but it’s surprisingly effective.  

What Are The Causes Of Small Calves? 


Perhaps the biggest factor that can impact your calves is genetics. 

Some people are just born with small calves, and while the overwhelming majority will be able to grow their calves from diet and exercise, people with poor genetics might never get their calves where they want them. 


Another factor that can affect your calves is age. 

Older people generally have more fat mass and less muscle and bone mass, giving the appearance of extremely skinny calves.  

Low Body Weight 

If you only weigh 140lbs, you can’t expect to have big calves. 

Unless you are extremely short or lean and muscular, you just are not going to have big calves if you have a low body weight.  

The Pros Of Small Calves 

Better Distance Running 

Smaller calves can be an advantage for distance runners.  

They have less weight to carry, which can reduce fatigue and increase endurance. 

Lower Risk Of Liver Disease 

According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, people with smaller calves may have a lower risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

The Cons Of Small Calves 

Reduced Leg Power 

Smaller calves may lead to reduced leg power and strength.  

This can negatively affect athletic performance, particularly in sports that require explosive movements, such as sprinting and jumping. 

Increased Risk Of Injury And Falls 

Smaller calves may result in a higher risk of falls and injuries, as they can reduce balance and stability. 

Increased Risk Of Mobility Issues 

Smaller calves may lead to mobility issues, as the calf muscles play a significant role in walking, running, and other movements that require lower body strength. 

How To Make Your Calves Bigger 

1. Band-assisted Calf Flex 

This exercise is performed by wrapping a resistance band around a sturdy object, such as a pole or railing, and looping it around the top of the foot.  

The person then flexes their foot up towards their shin against the resistance of the band, engaging the calf muscles.  

The band provides added resistance, making the exercise more challenging and helping to build calf muscle. 

2. Standing Calf Raise 

The standing calf raise is a classic calf-building exercise that can be performed with just body weight or with added weight.  

It is performed by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly raising up onto the balls of the feet, then lowering back down.  

This motion targets the gastrocnemius muscle, which is the larger of the two main muscles in the calf. 

3. Plié Squat with Heel Raise 

This exercise is performed by standing with feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointed outward.  

The person then performs a squat, bending their knees and lowering their hips towards the ground, while simultaneously raising up onto the balls of their feet.  

This exercise targets both the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, which are the two main muscles in the calf, as well as the quadriceps and glutes.  

The wider stance and pointed toes engage the muscles differently than a traditional squat, making it a great addition to a calf-building routine. 

Other Ways To Increase Calf Size 

1. Have Two Calf Days 

This involves dedicating two full days per week specifically to calf training, in addition to any calf work done on other training days.

This allows for greater volume and intensity in calf training, which can help to stimulate muscle growth. 

2. Daily Training 

This involves performing some form of calf training every day, even if it is just a few sets of calf raises.  

The idea is to provide frequent stimulus to the muscles in the lower leg, which can help to encourage growth and development over time.  

This can also be achieved by incorporating calf work into other exercises, such as adding calf raises to the end of a squat or lunge. 

How To Get Bigger Calves – FAQs 

How Can I Make My Calves Bigger? 

You can make your calves bigger by following a workout routine that includes calf exercises as well as staying in a caloric surplus over a long period of time.  

What Should I Eat To Get Bigger Calves? 

You should eat lots of high-protein foods like eggs, chicken, and meat to get bigger calves. 

However, it is worth noting that the foods you consume do not really matter as long as you eat enough protein and stay in a caloric surplus.  

How Long Does It Take For Calves To Grow? 

It will take at least one month or four weeks for your calves to grow.  

If you want to see a noticeable difference in calf size, expect to work out for at least 6 months.  

How To Get Bigger Calves for Skinny Legs? 

If you have skinny legs, you can get bigger calves by doing calf-specific exercises and staying in a caloric surplus.  

You might also want to include squats in your routine for overall leg development.  

How To Get Bigger Calves in 2 Weeks? 

To get bigger calves in 2 weeks, you need to eat in a caloric surplus and follow a workout routine that includes calf exercises.  

However, in just 2 weeks, you are not going to see a noticeable difference in calf size.  

How To Get Bigger Calves At Home? 

You can get bigger calves at home by performing standing calf raises on a raised platform and eating in a caloric surplus.  

How To Get Bigger Calves Fast? 

To get bigger calves fast, you should go into a large calorie surplus and perform calf exercises until you get results.  

However, you should be prepared to work out for at least a month before seeing any noticeable difference in calf size.  

How To Get Bigger Calves at Home for Females? 

Females can get bigger calves at home by eating in a caloric surplus, getting an adequate amount of protein, and following a workout routine that includes calf exercises.  

We hope we have been able to help you. 

Learning how to get bigger calves is essential for developing a strong and aesthetic physique, and the current calf shortage we are currently experiencing today is nothing short of a tragedy. 

If you would like more advice on how to get bigger calves or just more muscle-building tips in general, take a look on MovingForwards to check out our other articles.  

See you next time.  

Scroll to Top