Sometimes it takes your favorite machine to be broken to discover an exercise that can trigger new growth. In my case it was the standing calf machine.
At first I tried to mimic the exercise on the Smith machine. Using a calf block and shouldering the bar worked, but it was a bit awkward. Now, I can be pretty lazy, so I resisted one-legged calf raises as long as I could, but eventually I had to try them because the Smith machine just wasn’t cutting it.
To my surprise, forcing each leg to work independently felt crazy good. In fact, it felt like I was engaging more muscle fibers. The soreness I had to cope with the next few days verified that.
Then I started thinking: What about trying one-legged donkey calf raises in the power rack? Talk about a gastroc-frying attack! A major pump and deep muscle ache—not to mention a full-on calf bake.
The one-leg versions of the two best calf-building moves work great. I think using two legs at a time encourages cheating, even if you don’t realize it. Forcing one leg to work independently with a one-second-up/three-seconds-down cadence will get your calves growing, guaranteed.