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Workout 5 - Calves

  • The goal in calf training is to keep the muscles so confused that they can't adapt to any one program. I rarely do the same workout two days in a row.
  • Increase calf training intensity with advanced training techniques - descending sets and forced reps. For example, I do donkey calf raises with extra weight tied around my waist and a training partner on my back. I do 10-12 reps in this manner. Then, the training partner hop off before my grinding out another 10-12 reps.
    This is immediately followed by an additional 10-12 rep set - minus the training partner.
  • If there is one exercise I use consistently, it's the seated calf raise - that's about the only exercise specifically designed for hitting the soleus muscle.
  • Calf machines were primarily designed to hit the larger gastrocnemius muscle. However, calf machines can be used to hit the soleus if you keep your legs bent while doing the exercise.
  • Rep range: I nearly always keep my reps in the 12-to-15 range, only occasionally going down to 6 or 8 or as high as 20 to 30. Any more and I overtrain.


Donkey Calf Raises 5 descending sets of 12-15 reps
Standing Calf Raises 4 sets of 12-15 reps
Seated Calf Raises 4 sets of 12-15 reps

That's it! Don't forget to send us your before and after photos, and if you have any questions, don't be shy, send them to

Written by: Barry DeHart (06/13/04)