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E-zine #2: How To Get Calves Growing

Calves are the one bodypart that can be trained ?slightly? more often than others.

If you followed the quad routine we recommended in the last issue, to the letter, you now know the price, the sacrifice and the demands that building a better body requires, so we’ll assume it’s a price that you’re willing’ even glad to pay!

Before we jump into calves, let’s talk about a couple of concepts that are critical to your success, both in bodybuilding and in life: Focus and concentration.

It’s amazing how few people in any gym are really focused and concentrating during their workouts. They look around, talk endlessly (even during a set!) read the paper, answer their cell phones’ give me a break. These same people don’t have a clue as to why they show little improvement. They look at others who are getting results and they think, ‘Well, he/she looks that way because’ fill in the blank.’ They make excuses like, well, if I took drugs’ if I had great genetics’ if I spent a fortune on supplements’ if I was an easy gainer’ I’d look like that, too.

Notice the people who have consistently made progress and you’ll see something very special going on when they train. They’re totally focused on their goal for the set, on the contraction of the muscle, on how they’re going to look. There’s a look of self-determination on their faces, in their eyes and in their attitudes that can’t be missed. It’s inspiring to be around these people.

Make a promise to yourself that from this day forward you’re going to turn off the cell phone and the pager and forget about talking about the game or whatever it is that distracts your attention. Pretend that your life depends on this workout, this set and this rep. Try it for three weeks and I assure you you’ll be amazed at what you’ll accomplish.

Okay, so let’s apply this principle to calves. Your author this issue was not gifted with natural calf development. To make matters worse, I was gifted with easily developed quads, so at times I’ve had to ‘baby’ quads in order to keep my proportions. With persistence, determination, evaluation and intelligently applied hard work, however, I’ve built some decent calves, and I even get some occasional compliments from the opposite sex.

Okay, let’s get started. First I believe calves are the one bodypart that can be trained ‘slightly’ more often than others–let me emphasize ‘slightly’. So it’s three times over a 14-day period with two full workouts and one modified workout.

Day one and three are about 14 days apart and are identical in intensity and volume, the only difference being the order of the exercises. Day 2 is short, intense and liberally sprinkled with rest/pause and assisted reps on work sets after and only after achieving failure. More on that later.

So it’s day one, and we start with a standard movement, standing calf raises. Do two or three warmup sets, stopping short of failure. Now on to your heavy work set. Pick a weight with which you usually hit failure on rep 11. Perform your reps in a two-seconds-up, four-seconds-down tempo. Make a firm decision that you’re going to get 12 reps or better today. This is a battle for life, death and the accomplishment of a goal.

Arnold once told a friend of mine (true story) that he would pick a weight that he could get eight reps with and he would imagine if he didn’t get 12 reps that his mother would be burned at the stake. Now that’s focus!

Concentrate on each rep and focus your attention on full stretch and full contraction, get way up on your toes and hold for a count then down and up. Push yourself until an all-out effort on your part (no outside assistance) leaves you unable to perform one more rep, then immediately stretch for 30 seconds to a minute. Standing calf raises done. If you like more of a volume approach, then do one more set but for most mere mortals one work set done with all-out intensity will be plenty’

On to seated calf raises. Do one warm-up then one all-out set of 10 to 15 reps followed by 8 to 10 partial ‘burn’ type reps in the middle range of the stroke. Once again act as if your life depends on getting at least one more than last workout. All-out intensity. That’s it for seated calf raises.

Now our stretch-position movement: 45-degree angled leg press toe presses. One warmup and one all-out set of 10 to 20 reps. Focus, stretch and contract. Imagine your calves huge ripped and vascular. Put your heart and soul into it. Savor the pain.

Day 2 consists of two brutal sets of one exercise. It’s called Double 20. I use the standing calf raise facing into the hack machine, but you can use any machine that allows you to assist yourself with forced reps. Do one warmup then go to a weight that allows you to get 10 to 12 reps before failing. Remember, failure is when you can’t complete another rep DESPITE an all-out effort. Too many people start getting help as the set gets difficult, long before they reach failure. Wrong.

Okay, so let’s assume you fail on rep 12. Now pull yourself slowly to the top position of a calf raise (on the hack machine it’s like a three-inch pull-up with your arms). Now let yourself down, but fight it all the way. Do eight of these, till you reach rep 20. Again, focus and concentrate. Do two sets.

Calves fried. Done. This routine will kick your calves into growth. Remember, take your work sets to absolute failure. These workouts should be four to five days apart.

Workout 1
Standing calf raises, 2-3 warmup sets, then 1 x 12
Calf stretch, 30-60 seconds
Seated calf raises, 1-2 warmup sets, then 1 x 10-15 + 8-10 burns
Leg press calf raises, 1 x 10-20

Workout 2
Standing hack machine calf raises, 1 warmup set,
then 2 x 12 + 8 forced reps

Workout 3
Standing calf raises, 2-3 warmup sets, then 1 x 12
Calf stretch, 30-60 seconds
Seated calf raises, 1-2 warmup sets, then 1 x 10-15 + 8-10 burns
Leg press calf raises, 1 x 10-20

From the IRONMAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

All Content (c) Copyright 2000 IRONMAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved

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