Posts Tagged ‘Calf raises’

Those Stubborn Calves

Posted: October 30, 2013 in Fitness
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Hey Guys!  I figured it would be fun to share another training blog with you.  I’m going to discuss one of my LEAST favorites to train…my stubborn calves!  I know this is a problem spot for many so I’m going to share with you my personal training strategies.  First off, it is important to treat the calves just like any other body part.  Don’t just throw a few sets of calves in at the end of your training session – make them a priority!  I will occasionally devote an entire training session to calves.  Just like I train other body parts, I will mix up the number of sets, reps, weight, and volume.  I will also vary my foot position (toes in, out, and straight ahead) – there has been a lot of controversy on whether or not this actually makes a difference, but I came across some research that revealed that it does.  You can find the video here:  Either way, I DO feel a difference with varying foot positions, so I incorporate it.  I will train my calves 2-3 times per week on non-consecutive days.

Here is a workout that I do when I’m training ONLY my calves.  After taking my Top Secret Nutrition Pump Igniter :-), I usually do a 5-10 minute warm-up and very light stretching to the calves before beginning:

  1. Standing calf machine:  6 x 20 (2 sets each of toes straight, in, and out)
  2. Seated calf machine:  5 x 15 (using only toes straight ahead foot position)
  3. Donkey calf raise:  6 x 20 (2 sets each of toes straight, in, and out) – now, my gym doesn’t have a dedicated Donkey calf raise machine, so I do mine on the Smith Machine:  I set the bar somewhere around hip level (placing the safeties underneath), grab an aerobic step (or use a weight plate if you don’t have one), and place an adjustable bench in front (to lean on).  Make sure to use a bar pad to ease the pressure on your lower back/hips
  4. Unilateral standing calf raise:  3 sets to failure on each leg
  5. Farmer’s walk on toes:  2 laps around my gym

Don’t forget to stretch those calves again at the end!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about using intensity techniques to boost your workout.  In this blog, I’m going to share with you a leg workout that I did this week incorporating a couple of these techniques.  This is just one example of how I design my workouts.  I am a huge fan of changing things up:  not only does this keep me motivated, but it definitely keeps me from getting bored.  I like to train legs twice per week focusing on Quads/Calves on one day and then Glutes/Hamstrings the other.  This way I feel that I can hit each part with enough intensity.  Ok, so here is a page straight from my workout journal (Quads/Calves) from yesterday morning:


  • Leg Extension warm-ups:  2-3 sets of 15 reps with a light to moderate weight to get the blood flowing
  • Front Squats (FULL range of motion):  2 x 12 reps (warm-up); 2 x 10; 1 x 8 (all done as straight sets) – then on my last “set” I did a drop-set immediately followed by 2 rest-pause periods of 10 secs:  so…1 x 8 (drop), 1 x 10 (rest), 1 x 10 (rest) 1 x 10
  • SUPERSET:  Leg Press and Calf Press (1 x 20, then 5 x 10 of each exercise):  I also concentrated on the negative/eccentric phase with the leg press, I made sure to “explode” the weight up under control and then slowly lower until my knees hit my chest
  • SUPERSET:  Hack Squat (close stance) and Standing Calf Raise (toes forward, in, out, forward) 4 x 15 of each exercise
  • Split Squat:  Straight sets:  4 x 15 each leg holding a weight plate
  • Leg Extension finisher:  (FST-7 style):  7 sets of 10 with only a 20 sec rest between sets

So, during just this workout I used straight sets, drop-sets, rest-pause, supersets, negatives, and FST-7.  The combinations are endless so use your imagination when planning workouts.  This took me about 60 minutes to complete.  To give me the boost and recovery I need for a workout like this, I am using Top Secret Nutrition’s new Pump Igniter pre-workout, either the BCAA Hyperblend or Hyperblend Energy intra-workout, and a shot of Creavar after.

I am definitely feeling the effects already…can’t wait to see how these legs feel tomorrow!  Now, where did I put that foam roller?