Workout Routines

Advanced Workout: Calves and Forearms

When it comes to building a perfect physique, there are no “small” bodyparts.



In the gym, you diligently blast major bodyparts, repping away on your deads, squats and presses but how high of a priority are your forearms and calves? You can argue away your lack of dedication to these “smaller” bodyparts all you want: I already train my forearms when I pull or My calves won’t grow if my quads don’t grow. Good points, all, but complete physiques are always tied together by grainy, bellowed sets of forearms and calves. 

Workout 1: Calves

Exercise Sets/Reps

Single-Leg 45-Degree Calf Press 4/8-10

45-Degree Calf Press 4/8-10

Single-Leg Seated Calf Raise 4/8-10

Seated Calf Raise 4/8-10

Single-Leg Calf Raise x/100 (each leg)

The Workout: That leg press machine isn’t just for hogging the 45s on leg day. You can use it to perform the 45-degree calf press, which allows you to use heavy weight through a short, fixed range of motion, while also allowing for a fantastic stretch. Training one limb at a time – as you will for two exercises in this workout – allows you to use more weight than you normally would. Studies show that unilateral training results in a nearly 20 percent increase in force production in working limbs, likely because the brain senses that the limb will have to work harder to overcome gravity. So if you normally use 300 pounds for 10 reps on this exercise, assuming 150 pounds of effort from each calf, you can safely load with about 180 pounds for unilateral work.

You’ll follow this high force production move with a bilateral move, also done with heavy weight. The seated calf raise, which targets the deeper soleus muscle, is performed similarly, first with a few sets of unilateral work, then some two-calf action to finish. This increases the size of the soleus which “pushes” your heart-shaped gastrocs out, thereby stretching the overall measurement on your lower leg. As a finisher, you’ll knock out 100 reps of single-leg calf raises on each leg. You’ll rep to failure then switch legs, getting a deep stretch and a full contraction on each rep. Repeat in this fashion until you reach 100 on each leg.