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Raising Calves: Preston Noble's Training Plan For Freaky Lower Legs

Mad calves make men look great in shorts throughout the summer and they're easier to get than you think! Learn how!

Those muscles wrapped around your shin are a mystery wrapped in an enigma when it comes to training. Do they grow according to genetics or training stimulus? And if training does make all the difference, what kind of training are we talking about? Heavy weight for low reps, or lighter weight for high reps?

Power-walking soccer moms would sport monster calves if repetitive motion were the key. You need to hit 'em hard.

Arnold, who ruined the elastic in his fair share of tube socks in the 70s, put it this way: "Every day you walk around. When you walk you are using your calves. You are pushing at least your body weight every time you take a step. So, when you go to the gym and work out your calves with light weight, are you really stressing your muscles?"

Arnold put his calves through the ringer. He would perform all types of calf raises until he couldn't fully extend the muscle. Then, he would perform little bursts until the muscle finally couldn't move or extend, rendering his foot practically useless at the time after training. This method contributed to him becoming arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all time.

I take a similarly aggressive approach to raising calves. Your calves will not grow unless you absolutely DESTROY them! So I'm going to ask you to tack 10-to-12 sets of calf work onto the end of 4 or 5 workouts a week. (If that's too many sets at first, start at 5 and then build up to 12.) Each set should be 30 reps: 10 reps with toes pointed out, 10 reps with toes pointed in, 10 reps with toes pointed forward. No matter what calf move you're doing, switch it up like this.

The calves need this smack-down. Their strength should be commensurate with the strength of your quads and hamstrings. A weak link between your bigger legs muscles and the ground will limit performance and perhaps cause injury.

Preston's calves are choice. Yours are probably more like hamburger, but that can change with this freaky workout!
Preston's calves are choice. Yours are probably more like hamburger, but that can change with this freaky workout!

The Workout

Freaky Calves


Exercise 1//
(gastrocnemius)

Donkey calf raises are my favorite exercise. Unfortunately, most gyms don't have a machine to help with progression. If that's the case, you might just have to throw some babes (or dudes) on your back like Arnold displayed on "Pumping Iron."

These can be performed with or without weight, but remember, weight builds size. It depends on your pain threshold. Simply bend over and support yourself on a bench and have your training partner or a random person get on your back. Raise your heels off the floor, pause at the top of the muscle contraction, return your heels down, almost touching the floor, and repeat.

If it's too easy for you, the person on your back can hold dumbbells or a barbell to add weight.


Exercise 2//
(gastrocnemius)

Standing calf raises usually require less weight, depending on how much your back can handle. They can be performed in three ways:

  • Using a Smith Machine
  • With a barbell on your back
  • On one leg with a dumbbell in the opposite hand, using your free hand as support

Using a Smith Machine is the most common because the lifter does not need to stabilize the bar on their back while performing the exercise. You can throw in different variations by using one leg or by pausing at the top of the contraction for a length of time.


Exercise 3//
(soleus)

Seated calf raises are most commonly performed using a machine where you sit and a padded section rests on top of your knees. Unlike standing calf raises, this allows your legs to be at a 90-degree angle, putting most of the emphasis on the soleus.

Performing this exercise without a machine is a task, but is possible.
Start by sitting on a bench and put a barbell on your knees with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heels off the ground, pause at the top of the muscle contraction, then return your heels down, almost touching the floor, and repeat.


Exercise 4//
(soleus and gastrocnemius)

I love doing calves on the leg press machine. Make sure to stretch well through the medial and lateral side of the leg between sets and before and after the exercise. Try it with your knees locked and slightly bent. Some people struggle or feel pain with locked knees.

The beauty of using this machine is that you can place your feet in so many ways. Try doing one leg at a time if that works best for you. Be sure to fully extend through your toes at the top of the motion, squeezing and concentrating the calves. Don't let the soleus muscle do all of the work!


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JCRZ88

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JCRZ88

dang!! those calves are massive!, will def be trying out this workout this week

Apr 23, 2012 6:31pm | report
 
henjack23

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henjack23

hecks yea! Im definitely doing this one!

Apr 23, 2012 8:26pm | report
prestonnoble

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prestonnoble

YES go for it guys! my workout partners from afar! leme know how it goes ....how you feel after the workout..etc

Apr 25, 2012 3:29pm | report
henjack23

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henjack23

Ive been doing this for couple days now and its intense! Im training legs today so I may not do it today but so far I like it! Calves are sooo sore lol

Apr 26, 2012 9:32am | report
prestonnoble

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prestonnoble

Hows the calf workouts been going guys??

Aug 17, 2012 5:50am | report
IrdduncanI

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IrdduncanI

I've always had abnornmally large claves but the one legged leg press calve raises are my favorite! making sure to turn the foot in forward and out

Apr 24, 2012 6:44am | report
 
rightb4uris

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rightb4uris

You convinced me to try this out

Apr 24, 2012 8:32am | report
 
JTWJ

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JTWJ

Will be putting this into action on my next calf workout.

Apr 24, 2012 10:34am | report
 
built656

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built656

his calves are unreal...for a man of his height (5'8) they are even more impressive...they are big /yet well shaped and complete...he is calve motivation mode plus!!!!!!!!

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Apr 24, 2012 11:51am | report
 
dajunglebrotha

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dajunglebrotha

im a fan of the donkey calf raises, lol

Apr 24, 2012 11:56am | report
 
ctgblue

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ctgblue

generally the leg press will sub for a donkey calf machine if the footplate allows its use.
Also, when doing donkey calf/leg press raises, you are in stretch position so hold the stretch.
When doing standing raises, you are in a contracted position so hold the contraction at the top.
Seated calf raises should be held top and bottom. Hold these at least 2 seconds. NO BOUNCING. Your calves bounce along all day long, they gotta see something different.
Good Article

Apr 24, 2012 12:00pm | report
 
TRO17

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TRO17

Good advice!

Apr 25, 2012 9:03am | report
Lagartizscha

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Lagartizscha

Very nice tips!

May 17, 2012 7:46am | report
zdraper

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zdraper

Nice Advice man! Cant wait to try all this out!

Jun 11, 2012 11:44am | report
Arabesquemon

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Arabesquemon

"No bouncing" Makes since! I'll be sure to utilize the 2sec pause

Sep 10, 2012 2:04am | report
sohei

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sohei

Insane calves. Will certainly be upping my game in calf training.

Apr 24, 2012 1:52pm | report
 
I_Live_4_This

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I_Live_4_This

Great write up... motivation to hit the calves hard before summer!

Apr 24, 2012 1:53pm | report
 
UnleashThBeast

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UnleashThBeast

This is intense. He says to do this 4-5 days a week?????

Apr 24, 2012 2:41pm | report
 
prestonnoble

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prestonnoble

YES sir MR. UnleashTheBeast! 4-5 days a week. EVERY DAY IS calf day. but honestly it all depends on how much training your calves are used to already. most people starting off will be doing Great to get in all 8-12 sets of 30 reps in one week instead of one day.
just like i said in the article about Arnold not being able to use his feet after calf workouts, yours should feel the same! http://www.facebook.com/#!/Preston.Noble.Calves

Apr 24, 2012 3:06pm | report
DClaville

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DClaville

good info will def. be adding some of this to my work out.

Apr 24, 2012 2:59pm | report
 
cytog911

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cytog911

how many days a week do i do this?

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Apr 24, 2012 3:32pm | report
 
bigjoegreen

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bigjoegreen

He says 4 or 5. It takes a bunch of effort to get to your calves. Here's another good article that's helped me out a lot:

www.whyaremycalvessmall.com

Jul 15, 2014 9:38pm | report
Haasluv

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Haasluv

not as good as my calfs, will post updated pics soon

Apr 24, 2012 5:40pm | report
 
amitg79

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amitg79

Those aren't calves. They're bulls!
I will start today. Really need to bring up my calves drastically.

Apr 25, 2012 5:37am | report
 
prestonnoble

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prestonnoble

atta BOYEEE! thats the RIGHT attitude! a self-motivator you are! start today =) leme know how it goes .

Apr 25, 2012 3:28pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 104 Comments

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