Reigning Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler has had one of the most remarkable decades in the history of pro bodybuilding. The last time he finished lower than second was the 2000 Mr. O. In his 21 contests since, he’s been runner-up in eight (including five Mr. Olympias), defeated only by fellow Mr. O’s Ronnie Coleman and Dexter Jackson. Cutler won the other 13 (including three Mr. Olympia’s and three Arnold Classics). How’s that for consistency?

Despite this run, many counted him out last year only to see him take Sandow number three with his best-ever combination of size and striations. One of the hallmarks of the Cutler physique is its completeness, including an area the only two men who have beat him since 2000 lack: colossal calves. We checked in with Mr. O to get his thoughts on beefing up the lower legs.


  • “It’s not about the weight. Calf training is all about the range of motion. Go all the way down and all the way up on every rep.”
  • “I’ll sometimes do a little rest-pause for calves. I’ll stop when I reach failure, rest for a few seconds, and then get a few more reps. I might do this two or three times.”
  • “There’s not a lot you can do for calves as far as different exercises. Stick to the basics and work that full range of motion.”
  • “I’ll sometimes do calf presses if the gym has a good machine. And I’ll switch up the order of exercises.”
  • “I’ve never been into high reps for calves. I think 10 to 12 is best. Sometimes I’ll go to 15 to 20, but I tend to stick to that moderate range.”


Standing calf raises 3 10-12
Donkey machine calf raises 3 10-12
Seated calf raises 3 10-12