Best Calf Exercises for Men

Best Calf Exercises for Men 2022 | Workout Routines for Bigger Calves

We’ve come across many gymers who have a ripped upper body but lack the definition in their legs and this gives them a disproportionate look. Your calf muscles have to be worked out mainly because they indicate strong legs.

The calves are one of the most over-utilized muscles in the body and are engaged from the moment we stand till we lie down. Working out your calf muscles means you want toned legs and because they have been known to have an overall better lifestyle.

If you’re wondering what are the best calf exercises for men, then have a look as I cover the top 10 best calf exercises that you can perform at home or in the gym.

  • Standing Barbell Calf Raise
  • Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise
  • Seated Calf Raise (Leg Press Machine)
  • Farmer’s Walk (On your Toes)
  • Box Jumps
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Seal Jumps
  • Single-Leg Calf Raises
  • Jump Rope 
  • Hill Runs

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Calf Muscle Anatomy

The calf muscle in your lower leg is not a single muscle but made up of two muscles:

  • Gastrocnemius – The larger calf muscle that’s visible beneath the skin.
  • Soleus – A smaller, flat muscle that lies beneath the Gastrocnemius.

When you work out your calves, you’re essentially building both these muscles, By working out your Gastrocnemius and Soleus aka your calf muscles, you will experience heightened speed, acceleration, endurance and will jump higher than you previously were able to.

Mistakes to avoid while performing calf exercises for men?

Most fitness enthusiasts either limit themselves or overdo a workout and that can have a negative effect on your muscle’s development. Here are a common mistakes you can avoid while performing calf exercises.

  • Do not limit yourself to any particular rep count. I order for your muscles to fully develop, you will have to up your count in a systematic manner.
  • Do not use excessive weight at the beginning. Weight needs to be gradually increased as your muscles develop and you wouldn’t want to put too much strain on your calf muscle or Achilles tendon.
  • Refrain from working out your calves post your legs. This can result in a lower intensity workout which won’t do much for you. Rather, start your workout session with your calves or if you decide on doing it at the end, exercise them with the same level of intensity as the other muscles in your body.

Tips for building your calves

  • While working out your calves, make sure you do at least 15 reps for each exercise in your regimen. 15 reps per set is the ideal number, but this can depend on your fitness level and strength.
  • Maintain a consistent workout regimen for your calves. If you have 3 days a week dedicated to your calves, don’t skip out on them. Consistency is key to well developed calf muscles.
  • Maintain your balance and don’t lift heavy weights unless you have your feet planted sturdy on the ground.
  • For those who workout at home, feel free to workout barefoot but be careful of the weights and where you place them. Working out barefoot can yield better results.

Top 10 Best Calf Exercises for Men

Standing Barbell Calf Raise

Best Calf Exercises for Men

The standing barbell calf raise does not require much. All you need is an elevated platform and a barbell to pull off this form of exercise. It’s considered to be one of the best barbell related  calf workouts for men and this is how you execute it.

  • Start by standing tall on the edge of a large weight plate or at the edge of a raised platform. Make sure the platform is only raised by a few inches and not more.
  • Hold a barbell in your hands and rest it on your upper back. Keep your feet and toes facing forward.
  • Gently raise both your heels off the ground by contracting your calves and engaging them.
  • Slowly lower your body to the initial position and repeat the steps again. Keep going until you have completed your sets.
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  • Rest: 30-45 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Reps: 12-15 reps per set

Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise

Best Calf Exercises for Men

The seated dumbbell calf raise is a variant of the calf raise with a twist, you’re seated. While this may sound bonkers, there’s actually a certain way to perform this exercise so that it helps with the development and growth of your calf muscles.

Here’s how you can perform this exercise.

  • You have to start off by placing the weight plate on the ground.
  • Sit at the edge of a bench and place your toes on top of the weight plate.
  • Place a dumbbell on your knee while holding it in your hands. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed.
  • Gently raise your heels off the floor by concentrating and engaging your calf muscles. Try raising your toes as high as you can without taking your foot off the plate.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds before lowering your feet back to the ground.


  • Rest: 30-45 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Reps: 15-20 reps per set

Seated Calf Raise (Leg Press Machine)

Best Calf Exercises for Men

The seated calf raise that we’re going to talk about is one where you take the help of a leg press machine and no dumbbells or barbells. You can workout your legs and calves easily with the leg press machine and is fundamentally one of the easiest exercises you can perform.

Here’s how you can execute the seated calf raise.

  • You need to first sit at a leg press machine in such a position that your toes are touching the bottom of the platform and your legs are extended.
  • Using your toes and calves, push the platform back until you feel your calf muscles getting tensed and engaged.
  • Loosen the tension in your calf muscles and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the steps again to complete a set.


  • Rest: 30-45 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Reps: 15-20 reps per set

Farmer’s Walk (On your Toes)

Best Calf Exercises for Men

The farmer’s walk is one of the easiest exercises to perform if you’re looking to buff up your forearms. It doesn’t require much and would resemble you (the farmer), walking to the market with bags of vegetables (dumbbells) in each hand.

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Here’s how you can perform the farmer’s walk at home.

  • Start by standing upright with a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your hands at your side with your palms facing your body.
  • Begin walking in a straight line using nothing but your toes and make sure that your core muscles  and calves are engaged with your back straight.
  • Once you reach the end of the room, turn around and repeat.


  • Rest: 2-3 minutes between each set
  • Sets: 3
  • Distance: As far as  possible

Box Jumps

Best Calf Exercises for Men

Box jumps are another easy-to-perform exercise that is beneficial for the growth and development of your calf muscles. You can easily perform this exercise anywhere and you wouldn’t necessarily need a box to have this done. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s go through this mode of exercise by using nothing but a sturdy box.

Here’s how you can perform the box jumps.

  • First thing you need to do is to find a sturdy and firm box that will hold your weight.
  • Place the box flat on the ground and stand a few inches away from the box.
  • Make sure your feet are positioned at shoulder width.
  • Drop to a squat and jump up onto the box by concentrating on your calves and leg muscles.
  • Land on the box with both feet.
  • Slowly jump backwards onto the ground and repeat the steps until you’re done with the sets.


  • Rest: 30-50 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 3-5 reps per set

Jumping Jacks

Best Calf Exercises for Men

Jumping jacks are by far one of the oldest and easiest exercises to perform and you wouldn’t need any equipment to get this done. It’s a form of aerobics that help develop your legs and keep  your calf muscles engaged.

Here’s a refresher on how you can perform jumping jacks.

  • Start by standing flat on the ground with your feet together.
  • Make sure your arms are by your side.
  • As you jump up, make sure to spread your legs apart and clap your hands over your head.
  • Once you land on your feet, return to the starting position and repeat the steps to complete a set of jumping jacks.


  • Rest: 50-60 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Reps: 25-30 reps per set

Seal Jumps

Best Calf Exercises for Men

Seal jumps are an alternative to the traditional jumping jacks that we covered just now. It’s another easy-to-perform exercise that you can do at home without the need for any weight lifting equipment.

Here’s how you can pull off seal jumps.

  • Stand with your feet together, flat on the ground similar to the jumping jacks starting position.
  • As you jump make sure you extend your arms outward at your sides rather than clapping over your head.
  • Once you land, perform the same steps multiple times until you’re done with your set.


  • Rest: 40-50 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Reps: 20-25 reps per set

Single-Leg Calf Raises

Best Calf Exercises for Men

Calf raises are not easy but they are not difficult as well. The single-leg calf raises is an easy-to-perform calf exercise that might be the answer to your workout regime. It’s similar to your calf raise variants but with slight differences.

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Here’s how you can perform the single-leg calf raises.

  • Start by standing on an elevated surface such as a weight plate or block.
  • Wrap one leg around the other while standing and make sure you’re balancing on a single foot.
  • Gently lower your body by stretching your calf muscles and not touching your second leg to the ground.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Gently raise your body off the ground using your primary leg and stop at the top.
  • Repeat the steps a few times till you’ve completed your set.


  • Rest: 45 seconds between each set
  • Sets: 3-5
  • Reps: 15-20 reps per set

Jump Rope

Best Calf Exercises for Men

Performing with a jump rope can be fun and when it’s done the right way it is beneficial to the development of your calf muscles. All you need for this exercise is a single jump rope and a spacious room.

Here’s how to perform the jump rope successfully.

  • Hold the jump rope in your hand.
  • Oscillate the rope over your body and jump as the rope passes under your feet.
  • Make sure you don’t touch the rope with your feet
  • Repeat the steps for around 5-6 minutes or for as long as you can perform.


  • Rest: 30 seconds between each set
  • Sets: As many as possible
  • Reps: 30 reps per set

Hill Runs

Best Calf Exercises for Men

This is an outdoor exercise that you can perform by running up a hill. If there are no hills nearby you can use an incline treadmill and perform this exercise.

Here’s how you can perform hill runs.

  • Start by sprinting up a hill or up an incline treadmill.
  • Make sure to restrict it to 20 seconds at a time. 
  • Walk back down and repeat the steps.

If you’re using an incline treadmill, sprint for 20 seconds and level out the treadmill so it’s flat and slowly reduce your momentum.


  • Rest: N/A
  • Sets: 5-6
  • Reps: 20 second sprint uphill


What’s the best exercise for your calves?

Ideally the one that engages your entire calf muscle is the one that’s considered to be the best. Box jumps, calf raises, jump squats, uphill sprints and lunges are the  best calf exercises that will improve your calves strength and definition.

How do I improve my calf size?

In order to improve your calf size and definition, you will have to incorporate the exercises in your daily workout routine. Performing a combination of exercises with a specific number of steps and increasing the count as you proceed is one of the best ways to improve your calf size.

Is it okay to perform calf exercises daily?

Your calves are an important group of muscles that provide you with the ability to move freely. If you happen to overdo your calf exercises, there are chances that you may strain that particular group of muscles. It’s best if you workout your calves at least 3-4 times a week at first and gradually increase the frequency as you improve their strength.

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