T Nation

Is Training Calves Mental


I didn't come up with this routine. A T-Nation author did awhile back and I think it was Poliquin. I'm not sure, sorry if I got that wrong. I think I have it exactly but it might not be completly accurate as I did copy this down a long time ago.

I decided to promote this workout for 2 reasons.
because i'm part of the group with the most stubburn & geneticly inferior calves who have done everything under the sun to make them grow. Well i have used over 1000 lbs on the leg press machine doing toe raises and got little growth. Used every standing raise machine in the gym on the heaviest setting and got little results. Seated raises with it filled with six 45lb plates and my training partner sitting on top of that, little growth. Weight sleds full of 45's, little growth. Also I have done 100's of reps with just a basic bodyweight raise and gotten little growth. I wanted freakish size, not little growth.

I got freakish size from this routine. I've been using it for almost 5 months.
And I've added almost 2 inches to my calves. Didn't want to promote someone elses routine until I recieved major benefits from it personaly.

I thought I had put the effort in doing the exercises heavy, frequently, and intensely. The key ingredient i was missing was tacticly.

Here is how.

the calves need to be worked heavy & light but with a concentration on the concentric & ecentric movement rather than just moving alot of weight or doing alot of reps. More of a visualization technique of the muscle actually contracting and expanding. (Mind into muscle)

since the range of motion is short, you have to intensify the time under stress rather than the stressload itself.

Third-sets/reps/weight/frequency/rest.....is a science that is probably different for everyone in what thier calves respond to, but a general blueprint in blasting hypertrophy is probably not. this routine can be tweaked to your own needs. but i found it to be ideal for extremely fast calf blasting hypertrophy.

Finally- here is the program and the routine that has worked better for me than about 100 things i've tried.

DAY 1...

Supersets A & B, rest 2 minutes between sets. After A, immediately to B

Exercise A - Seated Raise
3 sets
10-5-5 reps
Tempo- 101, 1 second up, 1 second down, no pause anywhere in the movement

Exercise B - Donkey Raise
3 sets
50 to 30 reps
Tempo- 101

Exercise C - Standing Raises
10 sets
30 to 10 reps
Tempo- 111, 1 second up, 1 second down, 1 second pause as you hold stretch at the bottom
Rest- 10 seconds between sets

Then you can limp or crawl out to the parking lot.

DAY 2...

DAY 3...
Sets- 3 dropsets
reps 10-10-10 per dropset, no rest between rest, do immediately after weight is dropped
Tempo- 121, 1 second down, 2 second pause at the bottom stretch, 1 second up
Rest- 90 seconds between dropsets

Not as killer as day one, but just enough frequency to keep them growing and not overkill the volume

DAY 4...

DAY 5...

Thats it. Hit them twice every 5 days.
Unbelievable how well this is working. Just the right combo of high intensity and frequency. And the key was hitting high and low rep ranges while working the muscle, not the weight.

These muscles will grow if you train them smarter not harder.

Anyways, thanks to the author who wrote this workout. I'm about 99% sure it was Charles Poliquin, but I could be wrong.


I just finished reading a thread where you just got your rectum torn out through your nostril. How in the world do you think you are going to receive any good info here?

I mean, you just told some of the top guys(who are full of this info you request) basically to take a flying leap.

I think you are out of your mother truckin' mind. GOOD LUCK!!!


Correction on last post.

You may not be asking a question, but you are still anally retarded. GOOD LUCK!!


you might wanna read the post before showing your ignorance.

this post was a thanks to the guy who came up with the routine and a list of exercises for someone who wanted to use them

i could care less what people over the internet say or think about me or anybody else.

i'm here to find info and share info that i have.

i dont log on to make friends, i log on for training ideas




I don't understand the hostility towards this guy. He promoted pushups as an ADDENDUM to heavy bench pressing and dips. People flipped their shit as if he were promoting genocide.

What the frack is wrong with this program? He's relating his experience. He didn't insult anybody.

Is Mr. Push Ups the witch of the week? I must have missed the memo.

Grow the fuck up.


Yes, I read the other thread. Yes Mr PU said some dumb shit on it. However, this thread is not about that. Mr PU was sharing something that worked for him, and could help others. Props to him for that.


i expect about 5 more to post to this(i got like a clan 0f 7-8 haters from the bench press/push up point of view...there are alot of people that dont wanna hear an opinion that weighted push ups are a better hypertrophy builder than a bench press; especially when they don't do or don't get results from them. For me they are, and some others. I'll probably have all the push up people mad at me when i tell them that the bench press is the superior strength builder for the chest.
just points of view. like this thread, just a routine i found that has worked for me.

i don't care, it seems to me the more you make fun of others threads in here the more you are considered......and people like zeb give excellent info and gets crucified for having an opinion

id rather be crucified for training ideas than to log in and join a naysayers gang


Cut the guy a break. He got into a stupid forum argument. Who hasn't.

This is a good review for a routine that he followed and got good results. I'm glad he posted it, and will try to when I want to focus my calves.


You must have missed the part where he said bench pressing doesn't really involve the pecs like a pushup does, LOL


What did your calves measure before the program and after? I always thought mine were underdeveloped, however, when I tell others the measurement, they seem to not think so. I guess it is all perception.


15 on the left, and a little under 15 on the right

both are real close to 17, probably the first month i got almost an inch, its going slower but there still growing at a faster rate then when i was doing 12 sets a day....i actually built up to that with no soreness at all

somehow i built the strength but was trying to build size.....i dunno i messed it all up going to heavy.....i read too much Arnold stuff....

i would do very heavy weight with sweats on and people thought i had enormous calves until i lifted up my pants leg and showed them how small my calves were. Wierd? they were very ripped and strong as hell....but no size at all


How much do you weigh and are you a newbie? No offense, but those were some small calves to begin with so perhaps they were simply not being stimulated enough before. I personally believe body weight can assist in this as well. My calves didn't begin to look developed at all until I got over 240lbs. I now train them pretty regularly. Wearing shorts more often keep my focus on them in the gym.

17" is a decent size for calves. I am just wondering why you attribute their size to this specific routine instead of taking the basic concept and simply training them more often.


Interesting stuff. I never seem to place much emphasis on my calves and, well, it shows. Now, I take it you just added this routine into what you were regularly doing?


...Perhaps because he hadn't thought about it until comming across that routine? Either way, most people can't grasp the idea of such basic concepts unless it is dished out onto a plate served as a "routine". People who follow these "routines" don't understand the basic concept the routine was based upon. What you said in the above quote will hopefully make him realize now that it was the basic concept and not the specific routine that helped him with his gains.

Also, I bet he would put on more meat if he ate more. Hopefully someone posts a calf-nutrition routine so that more fundamentals can be realized.


I don't see how you could have ripped calves with no size. Quite honestly no matter how lean you are if your calves are 15" they're not gonna be ripped as hell, I had a friend who had about the same size and he was about 8%bf year round and there was NO definition in them. For myself I found that getting a deep stretch in the bottom of the reps and focusing on the peak of the contraction really helped mine grow. As did variety and frequency. I would hit them about 2-3 times a week and did uphill walking for cardio. Seemed to help my calves. Thanks for the info too by the way.


I think you may be missing it as well. I admittedly didn't focus on my calves as much as I do now. I used to wear longer pants more when training, and while I may focus on them for periods of time, they were never a long term regular in my training because I never saw much progress. It was like I just gave up on them. I never really measured them before, But I am sure that for years they were probably about 16" or less. For someone my size, that is small as hell. I blamed much of their lack of size on genetics because they didn't seem to grow like my other body parts. I didn't really notice growth until my body weight significantly increased. My personal theory is that (much like you see fat people with amazing calf developement) body weight may be a factor in helping them grow for those of us not genetically gifted in that area. My calves measure about 18" right now and for me, I still feel that is small compared to everything else. However, they have made progress. I train them almost every other day or daily. Wearing shorts in the gym has helped me keep focus on them.

Bottom line, I feel that calves need higher frequency of training and that body weight may help them grow if they are suddenly carrying more weight around all day.


How much do you squat? For me, as my squat goes up, my calves get bigger.


175lb, but i'm naturally 135 if i would have never lifted. no ive been lifting forever. plenty of years the wrong way.

no offense taken, they were even smaller before i got them to 15.

bodyweight? hum? wish i was heavier. i can see with you being 240 and helping your calf growth. my dad has a 260 frame and built giant calves just from doing alot of walking from hid job.....his are weak though, and they're hugh..........i do not get this, i wish someone whould explain this size/strength relationship to me

i had calves half the size of the old man and mine were considerably alot stronger

i tried training them all the time, i think all i did was build a tollerance to it....i'm not sure if i overtrained or just didn't work them right

You seem pretty knowledgeable Prof X
you can tear me down, if you wish....i really don't mind from intelligenyt minds
i'm always looking for help
and i'm opinionated as hell
but i always bow down to the higher sources like Waterbury or maybe even yourself

i have read of few of your posts &
the knowledge & advice you give is pretty good

keep up the hard work.


"Ripped"....well not Flex Wheeler or Reg Park ripped.....but pretty ripped for a measly 15 inch calf. I should measure my ankle...i have a very small bone and joint structure......ive seen 15's on legs where it looks like they have no ankles; i know what ya mean. a samll frame 15 looks a little differnt than a medium or large frame 15. i have a 28" waist if that helps. trust me man, i'm a skinny weasel who added some decent muscle and i still dont weigh shit.