If your calves aren’t growing, I’d suggest training them on a three-day cycle. Do a heavy workout the first day, a short pumping session the next, and rest them completely the third day. A pump like this actually stimulates recovery because it forces blood into the muscle and pushes waste products out.
Generally speaking, calves require more reps than any other muscle in the human body due to their greater number of muscle fibres.
The biceps have about 40,000 muscle fibres, while the calf has over 1,2 million fibres.
I’ve noticed men with great calves – such as Steve Reeves – could invariably get up on their toes like ballet dancers and could also stretch their heels well below their toes. I believe that you should be able to touch your heels to the floor when your toes are on a four-inch block. And you should also be able to get fully up on your toes.
I see too many bodybuilders working their calves with their shoes on and doing only partial reps. You have to work them barefooted with your toes on a rubber pad that rests on the block. And you have to use an exaggerated range of motion on all of your movements.
That’s the only way to build big calves efficiently.
(IronMan, March 1984)