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Standing Calf Raise - WTF?

I am relatively new to lifting, only about 3 months in. Over the past 3 weeks, I have been able to increase the weight on standing calf raises by 50lbs each week/workout. This is friggin insane. I was at 150lbs (smith machine) in late January, now I am at 250lbs for 4x6reps.

damn I wish my other lifts increased this much!

Maybe it has something to do with the muscle type in the calves?

I have a backround in intense cycling, so I wasn’t a slob before lifting.

Calf Raises aren’t really a hard exercise when compared to other ones. Consider the fact that maybe you were able to do the same weight you’re currently doing 3 weeks ago, but you just didn’t try to… I doubt what you were doing 3 weeks ago was as hard as what you’re doing now.

Also, I find that with calf exercises, it is easy to change form to adapt to the weight you’re lifing. Try it with light weight… you’ll perform full range of motion as slowly as you want to. Add a lot more weight and it becomes a more sporadic exercise that involves quick but powerful motions. Form changes way more than, say, a bench press with light or heavy weight. You can’t fully bench something over your 1 RM, but you can calf raise something over your 1 RM since you might very well use a quicker motion and involve other muscles as well (back and legs, for example).

Just my 2 cents…

I can do a set of 400+ lbs easy on the calf raise, and I have fairly slim calves.

I think a couple things are happening here. First, it’s not a very large motion. Second, it’s a levering motion. And third, you’re not actually lifting that much; that’s simply what the weight stack says. But, you’re levering that, so you get a mechanical advantage.

Here is something to challenge your calves more: after every concentric “lift”, bounce at the top a few times before going back down.

The cycling surely helped prep you for calf raises, and calves get worked every time you walk and stand, so they are made to deal with constant stress; they can recover quickly. I think the suggestion that you simply started with less weight is sensible: you probably low-balled it because of the weight on your other lifts.

If you want to make sure you aren’t “cheating,” remember that there’s a descending stretch as well as a lifting portion to the exercise. And try holding at the top of the lift for 5 seconds.

you guys make some good points.

some things to consider - I do them on a smith rack with a weighted bar, not the calf raise machine.
I think my ROM is pretty close to what I do with no weight. from a full stretch to as high as possible. I do them explosively (Waterbury).

They definitely are an easy lift, compared to say 1 leg squats, lol.

I would say my effort now is the same as last month.
I actually did 8 sets of 4, working up from 200 to 285lbs. (I assumed 250 for 4x6, for easier comparison)
I was still a bit below failure at the end

When I’m doing these I like to pause for at least 4 seconds at the bottom to get rid of any elastic energy stored in the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon is really good at storing elastic energy. You’ll probably have to use a lower weight when doing this, but I guarntee you that you’ll be feeling it.

OK, I figured out the secret tonight. These have always been too easy for me, as well.

I was reading through one of my exercise books getting form tips, and it hit me. It said to stretch as far as possible at the top. I guess I never really tried to reach my calf raise as high as I could possibly get it.

Tonight I did. Tonight my calves burned. It’s about damn time!

Hope that helps.