Calves do respond to strength training, says Brad Schoenfeld
If you train your calf muscles, they can indeed grow. And whether you train the calves with long sets with relatively little weight or with shorter sets with a higher load, does not really matter. That is the conclusion of a study that American strength trainer and exercise scientist Brad Schoenfeld published in Physiological Reports.
Study

Schoenfeld had 30 male untrained students train their calves twice a week with the seated calf raise and the standing calf raise for 8 weeks. The students trained one leg with weights that allowed them to do just 6-10 reps, and trained their other leg with a load that allowed 20-30 reps.Results
After 8 weeks of strength training, the muscle thickness of both the soleus and gastrocnemius had increased just as much in the calves trained with light weights and many repetitions, as in the calves trained with heavy weights and few repetitions.

The soleus consists for the most part of type 1 muscle fibers, which respond to training with many repetitions with relatively little weight. The gastrocnemius consists of approximately the same amount of type-1 as type-2 muscle fibers. Type-2 muscle fibers respond to training with few repetitions and a high load.






MG = medial gastrocnemius, LG = lateral gastrocnemius, SOL = soleus.
Conclusion
According to Schoenfeld, the results of his research question two dogmas in bodybuilding. One is that you have to train calves with a relatively low weight and lots of reps, the other that calves hardly respond to strength training.

"Our findings cast doubt on the claim that training muscles based on their fiber composition provides an additional benefit for enhancing muscle strength or hypertrophy", Schoenfeld writes. "The results also indicate that the triceps surae muscles respond robustly to regimented exercise, and the associated adaptations are independent of load used in the training program provided that sets are performed with a high level of effort."
We have some difficulty accepting Schoenfeld's first conclusion. There is a non-significant trend that calves trained with high reps grow a little better than calves trained with low reps. What would have happened if the study had lasted longer than 8 weeks? Or if the subjects had trained their calves in an even higher rep range?
Source:
Physiol Rep. 2020 May; 8(9): e14427.