Calves are considered secondary muscles and are often trained at the gym. But it is heavily used in day-to-day activities from standing still to running to lifting weight, your calves are working out. Despite this, you can spot bodybuilders with small calves. Why? Its because they are either skipping their calf’s workout or are not training calves enough times a week to increase calves size. If you want to get bigger calves, then the practice should be learning how times you should work out your calves.
Well cover every point pros and cons, and determine how often you should train calves, in this complete calves guide.
How Often To Train Calves?
According to studies, training calves twice per week is the best workout frequency to strengthen and grow calf muscles. The reason for that, the muscle can recover after three days of a workout session. Therefore, for the faster growth of muscles, training twice per week is the optimal choice. additionally, most f the advanced lifters and fitness coaches recommend this training frequency.
The frequency of training calves depends on the current level of the person (beginner, intermediate and advanced) as also known as training age. People have different training age on per muscle groups, means a person who is in the beginning phase of the back muscle can be still at intermediate or advance level at calves.
The training age per muscle group depends on the individual genetic potential. So, you can easily spot an individual who has a greater genetic potential in the back ( at the advanced level) but at the same time is in the beginning phase of the chest muscle group.
So, to define how often you can work out your calves is directly depends on the training age of calves. Let’s check out, how often to train calves and what will happen.
Once per week
If you just started gym and started your calves training, then a training frequency of once per week is a perfect choice.
It is the initial stage of your muscle training to understand the exercise techniques and proper form. In the beginning, it is difficult to ensure that the right muscles are targeted during exercise.
Additionally, if beginners train more often, then soreness in the calves will interfere with your leg workout.
By choosing a workout frequency of once per week, you will provide your body enough time to adjust to handle the weight, learn proper form, and provide ample recovery time.
When to train?
It is your choice to decide when to train your calves per day, you can either give a single day training calves( if they are weak points for you). However, most people prefer to work out calves at the end of any regular workout session.
Note: You should avoid working out calves on your legs day, as at beginner level it’s is hard for the body to train two muscles on a single day. Also, your calves will already be sored from squats and other leg exercises.
Related: How to Get Rid of Sore Calves
According to several studies, illustrates that training muscles twice per week is superior to training once per week. This is also practiced by many fitness trainers and coaches, to increase the muscle’s growth and definition.
According to a meta-analysis by Schoenfeld et al observed that participants who went through two workout sessions per week rather than twice per week showed an increase in muscle growth by 6.8% over 6-12 weeks.
Additionally, a muscle can recover with three training session days. So, it is possible for a person to train twice per week.
When to train?
Between two training sessions of calves, you must provide 3 days for the muscles to recover properly. So, you need to schedule it according to this, also keep in mind that a calves training session doesn’t come on the day before, on the same day, and after a day of the leg workout session.
Also, with this routine, you will provide enough time for calves to properly heal and recover from a workout, and then on your leg workout, your calves will not be sored.
Three times a week
As you already know, that calf muscles are used in everyday activities from standing still to running, and also if you perform any construction work. Therefore, calves can easily handle working out three days a week. However, there is a difference in using calves in everyday activities like running and training at the gym.
In the gym, you will train your calf muscle to absolute failure or until your calf muscles are not fully pumped. This is not the case in your regular activities.
Also, the recovery time of muscle is different in both the scenario. While training to absolute failure with a workout frequency of three times a week, you will avoid giving enough time to your calves for healing.
Does this mean you should not train calves three times a week?
No, it is not a bad decision to train calves three times a week. Several bodybuilders train calves with a workout frequency of three times. Additionally, if you have calves as a weak point, you have to train them more to increase muscle strength.
When to train?
Training three times a week, you must give a single day rest between two workout sessions. Also, just make sure that the middle workout session volume, is low as compared to others. Otherwise, it will be hard for you during leg workouts especially doing squats.
For training calves every day, you must have excessive recovery capacity. Continuous training of calves every day leads to tearing of muscle fibers. Also, you will have not enough time to heal and recover those muscle fibers. Additionally, with this practice, there will be no muscle growth in your calves.
The continuous training of muscle groups including calves, will not result in more muscle growth or increase strength, but it will increase the risk of injury and muscle imbalance.
When to train?
If you are focused on training on calves every day, as you think it will show significant growth in the size of your calves. You can train them after your regular workout session. However, you must keep the volume and weight low, and start doing high reps instead of low reps with a heavyweight.
For beginners and intermediates, training calves every day is like Overtraining. This easily results in a backfire in the form of a major injury.
Related: How to Get rid of tired Legs
How Often Should Beginners Train Their Calves?
Beginners should train their calves 1-2 times per week. Start your calves workout, with low weights and low volume. This is to adjust your body to the proper form and technique of exercise. If you just started the gym and know that calves are your weak point, you still have to begin training with one weekly calf workout session.
When your body is adjusted and you can spot the difference in your calves, then you should upgrade your calf workout. ( It can take up to 2-3 months).
Always keep in mind, that your calves are also worked out during leg workouts. So, even if you are training them once per week, you are technically working out twice a week( if we consider leg workout).
Training once per week is advised for beginners, as working out at high frequency with a lack of form, puts your body at a high risk of injury.
How Often Should Advanced Train Their Calves??
For advanced lifters, it’s up to them how many times they wish to train calves. As an advanced lifter, already is in perfect shape, he understands the dynamic of workout frequency and volume and weight.
But many bodybuilders and lifters with impressive body physiques, still lack in one area and that is calves. They might have strong calves but the size of the calves is missing.
Genetics is responsible for the structure of your body, especially in calves areas. So, even if you have been working out, there is genetic limiting to your calf’s growth. But you can still experiment with your training.
Although, twice a week is the best workout frequency according to fitness coaches and studies. However, if you have an amazing recovery capacity and are willing to push your body to overcome the genetic limitation of calves. You can train your calves 3 times a week or more, as per your wish.
Related: How to get Big calves?
How Often To Train Calves For Mass
To build calves’ muscle mass, twice a week is the perfect workout frequency. For building muscle calves you need to train hard at the gym and eat an adequate diet to support your muscle gain. Time to increase calves muscle mass is different for men and women, as men have a higher muscle production as compare to women. Before training your calves, every lifter should understand this, genetics act as a hindering factor when it comes to calves muscle mass gain. But this doesn’t mean that you cant increase the size of your calves.
For some people, they can experience muscle mass gain in about 10 months with a training frequency of twice per week. But for others, this range can be higher due to genetic limitations.
If a lifter train continuously with an adequate diet to support muscle mass gain and is also willing to put everything on the line, he can push his genetic potential and acquire big and strong calves.
The verdict: How Often To Train Calves For Best Results
Working out how often to train calves is not a complex decision to take. The training pattern varies from person to person. Some lifters see significant growth by training 1 time a week while others have to train 2-3 times a week.
According to studies, twice per week is the best workout frequency ( per muscle group). Therefore, I would recommend beginning your calf workout with a workout frequency of 1 and eventually, over time increase the frequency to twice per week, and notice how ell your body responds to that.