Training

Welsh Wheels

Flex Lewis’ six steps for strong, thick, detailed legs.

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WORKSTATION #6

Calves are where the rubber meets the road

Calves not growing to your liking? “You’re not doing enough reps,” Lewis suggests. “A lot of people stop when they start feeling the lactic acid buildup, but you have to keep going until it feels like your calves are going to explode.”

It’s here that Lewis introduces a concept he calls “hybrid training.” Most others would probably refer to it as “lunacy”—that is, until they saw the type of development that such an intense, repeated pump can generate. (Thanks to workouts like this and his early calf development from his efforts on the rugby pitch, Lewis admits that he rarely needs to train calves these days.)

The “hybrid” nature of the workout simply pairs various calf raises together into one giant set of sweet pain. Take standing calf raises, for instance. You’d start with standard raises, with your toes straight and a full range of motion, from heels at full stretch down to all the way up on your toes, for 30–50 medium-paced reps. After that, you’d turn your toes inward—which focuses on the outer gastrocnemius muscle—and do 30–50 more full ROM reps. Finally, you’d turn your heels inward (hitting the inner gastroc head) for another 30–50 reps.

To finish that workout, you’d head over to the seated press and, with toes straight, you’d do 30–50 reps, holding the top contracted position for 1–2 seconds on each rep. Then you’d either limp home or try to go through the whole sequence again one more time.

Another hybrid calf workout Lewis espouses starts with a calf raise on a leg press machine for 30 reps at a faster pace. Then you’d jump of and immediately step onto a raised block for 30 body-weight toe raises, still using that quickened rep pace. Finally, you’d step onto the floor and, using that same pace, raise up as high as you can on your heels until total failure. Repeat the sequence two more times through and it’ll feel like the sheath of skin surrounding your calf is about to split wide open. - FLEX

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