T Nation

Bottom Emphasis Calf Raises

I couldn’t find the article, but here’s the piece Darden wrote…

Bottom-Focused Calf Raises ~ Ellington Darden

Are your calves stalled at a certain level of development? Here’s a neat technique I learned from Dan Ilse, who won Mr. Texas in 1961. Dan was 5’10" tall and weighed 200lbs – and he had impressive, diamond-shaped, 18" calves.

Ilse thought the key to stimulating calf growth was to pay more attention to the stretched position than the contracted position. He emphasized the stretch in a unique way. He divided the standard calf raise into two parts: the bottom 1/2 and the top 1/2. He began his set by doing 12 bottom-1/2 reps; followed by 12 top-1/2 reps; followed by 12 bottom-1/2 reps.

Overall, he performed twice as many bottom-1/2 reps as he did top-1/2 reps. When he could do 15 reps in each of the 3 divisions, he upped the resistance.

Try the bottom-focused movements the next time you do calf raises and see if they don’t make a difference in your growth stimulation.

Keep all your 1/2 repetitions slow and smooth.

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This is training the muscle in zones … Brian Johnston suggested this also for all muscle groups and in many different configurations / orders ; half, thirds, staggered, etc etc. - unlimited variations. One book ( I think his first ) was titles ’ ZONE TRAINING ’ co-authored with Andrew Short and since then he has had a couple others I believe, all of those I unfortunately missed out on.

Zones is absolutely one of the best ways for experienced / advanced trainers to do their sets & reps in a progressive way besides increasing resistance, A lot of people just blew him off about it … claimed he was trying to re-name and ‘claim’ stage reps, LOL. Obviously just jealous remarks about a fantastic way to do reps / sets and increase training intensity and variety.

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Tzabcan! I thought exactly the same as you when I heard this, and feel Brian Johnston hasn’t earned the credibility he deserves for it.

I saw a Youtube video with Doug Brignole the other day, where he talked about the importance of warming up in the leg press, before doing the proper sets. His description of warmup was - reverse version of Zone Training as described in the first book (but he just called it partial reps).

Obviously, Dr Darden’s story comes from way back when - before Zone Training.

Adding @borisv here for info.

I don’t think so either. There was a couple guys on the old board that really gave him a hard time and he unfortunately stopped posting.

Thanks, @pettersson. As Arthur Jones wrote in “My first half-century in the Iron Game”: “A clear awareness, and and understanding, of its true history is an absolute requirement for a real understanding of any field you can name; little if anything of value ever leaped suddenly into existence with no history of earlier work in that field, earlier studies, earlier developments, earlier theories and opinions. Instead, almost all real improvements, or “breakthroughs”, were made possible by earlier work in the same field; to reach the top later workers were forced to stand upon the shoulders of earlier workers in the same field”. Brian Johnston has never claimed that he invented “stage” or “partial” reps, but he truly explored the idea behind them to the maximum with so many interesting applications, techniques and, which is most important, rationale behind them.
I haven’t spoken to Brian since Dec 2020; yes, he wasn’t very interested to continue posting. I don’t think he has published anything new since then either.

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