Small calves can be seriously frustrating as nobody wants to do endless sets of boring calf raises only to have little-to-no results.

But what if I told you, you could get massive pool table leg calves without ever doing calf raises?

DEMIGOD Sale Thin Banner

Well, it is possible, but you’ve got to be willing to abandon your comfort zone.

Calves, like forearms and neck, can be difficult areas to build; but with the correct exercises, you can take your calf development to the next level — you can actually confidently wear shorts in public!

The accusations of skipping leg day or jabs at your calves will cease. Trust me, bro.

3 Ways to Grow Your Calves Without Doing Calf Raises

HFT 2.0: The Good, The Bad, and How to Build Bigger Calves | T NATION

Let me tell you a little secret, I hate doing calf raises. They are tedious, boring, and they interfered with my sports training, putting me in a psychological position where I believed I was more injury prone — it’s true!

You can grow your calves without ever training them directly.

So, your calves have two functions: 1) to press your toes into the ground/away from you, thus lifting you up and 2) stabilizing your foot/ankle under downward and uneven pressure — we will focus on the latter.

Did you know you can grow your calves just by putting a heavy load on your back and remaining stood up?

Well, you can, and this is the first exercise we will focus on.

1. Pin Squat/Anderson Squat

Anderson Squat How to Exercise Guide - Get Strong

This first exercise is a supramaximal version or partial version of the squat that I used to hit massive PRs on my squat.

What you need to do is unrack a weight on your back that is ABOVE your squat 1 rep max then proceed to squat it onto pins set up to mimic a quarter or half of your squat depth.

For example if your max squat is 400lb, walk out and attempt to quarter squat 445lb from pins for a set of three.

Keeping a weight –a supramaximal load — above your 1 rep max stable will recruit your calves, hard, as you need to stabilize a weight you’ve never done before without crumpling like a leaf.

The first time I attempted this squat variation, I had the most ungodly pump in my calves.

There is a reason why most elite powerlifters have enormous calves.

How to do The Anderson Squat

2. The Herc Squat

So, this movement incorporates both a supramaximal load with the need for added stability as it is done on leg.

Taken from our article on the Herc Squat:

I assure you, you’ll have never done this exercise. But this isn’t a gimmick–just a simple exercise familiar to most people who have been lifting for a while; but with my personal spin on it.

Accidents happen; but accidents can also lead to great innovations.

And this is what happened when I discovered this particular monster accessory movement.

I found this by accident because my gym only had dumbbells up to around 75lb and I couldn’t find the correct balance when doing a Bulgarian Lunge while using a barbell.

And I wanted to increase my deadlift and squat, but use real weight in the process.

By this I mean that I wanted to far exceed my real numbers in a supramaximal lift to grow my lower body — and fast.

So I used the Smith Machine.

Herc Squat
Herc Squat without the pins!

That’s right, I, a powerlifter at the time, used the Smith Machine.

But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Without much further teasing, here is the exercise: A Supramaximal Partial Bulgarian Split Squat.

It sounds rather unglamorous and a bit of a mouthful to say, but, believe me, it really works.

UPDATE: I will be calling this lift the “Herc Squat.”

You’ll be thanking me for the enormous gains you’ll make to your deadlift, squat, and glute development; but you’ll hate me when you use the can in the days after training.

All you have to do is set safety pins on the Smith Machine, have a bench parallel to the Smith Machine, get under the bar, raise your inactive leg onto the bench–as if you were actually performing a Bulgarian Split Squat.

My twist here is the whopping overloading of the bar that you can get away with. The bar path is restricted by the Smith Machine itself, reducing the need to expend energy on stability.

The safety pins will stop the bar from descending too low to reduce the risk of injury.

Combined, you can really go to town in throwing the weight around.

Moreover, new accessory movements drilled into your program are easy to PR on.

When I first started these, I could do 3.5 plates a side. After a few months, this increased to nearly 5 plates a side.

My max squat at the time was in the mid-500s, and, within a year, I added over 60lb to my squat–mostly because of this exercise.

Not only will this add mass to your rear, numbers to your squat and deadlift, but the lateral stability required to support the weight load will also blow up your calves.

3. Take a Hike

19 Best Hiking Gear Essentials 2021- How to Prepare for a Day Hike

That’s right, take a hike — it’s good for your heart, soul, and calves!

I live somewhere mountainous and nobody — and I mean, nobody — has small calves.

And the reason for this is because uphill walking stimulates the heck out of your calves. You simply cannot have small calves and live somewhere mountainous.

This is because you are activating them with every uphill step you take as well as stabilizing your foot and ankles again the uneven surface that comes with most terrain.

Aside from the calf gains, you will also strengthen your heart, burn calories, and feel refreshed.

Hiking is an activity I encourage everybody to take up.

Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!

Otherwise, don’t forget to claim your FREE eBook detailing how to lose 20lb of fat while building muscle in 12 weeks! You can claim it here.

Alternatively, you can pick up a FREE eBook on fundamental strength principles offering an introductory workout program.