The calves workout

NEWS FLASH: The calves can be a stubborn muscle group to get growing. That’s precisely why Jim Ryno, a personal trainer and owner of luxury home gym design firm Iron House in Alpine, NJ (, designed this “shock routine,” and wants you to do it now.
At first glance the workout doesn’t look that shocking at all. Four exercises, only two sets each? Big deal. But the devil’s in the details, and here’s the key detail of this routine: It’s meant to be performed six times per week for three consecutive weeks, followed by a deload week when you do the workout only once. “You’ll also be supersetting the first and last two exercises,” says Ryno, “so your calves will be on fire for sure.” After four weeks of high frequency, return to a more typical calf-training split of two to three weekly workouts. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy your slightly thicker calves upon returning to normal volume.

This ubiquitous calf exercise is usually done for 15-plus reps. In this workout you’ll load up the weight and keep reps in single digits (8). But still make sure to get a full range of motion, getting up high on your toes at the top of each rep.

Keep the reps continuous, using a low box or aerobic step (set to around 12 inches high). Each set will consist of 80 total reps: 20 per leg facing the box/step and 20 per leg facing sideways to the box/step and jumping up laterally to it.

Explode upward with slight flexion in the knees. Do reps in continuous fashion until you’ve reached 20. Go heavy, but not at the expense of speed.

At this point in the workout, 20 reps will be tough and force you to go relatively light on this exercise. Don’t lose your range of motion here. If you have to drop some weight for Set 2 to reach peak contraction, do it.

THE WORKOUT CALVES                                                                                                   Perform this workout six times per week for three weeks. In the fourth week, deload by performing it just once.

Standing Calf Raise 2 8 10-20 sec.
Dumbbell Calf Jumps (aka “pogos”) 2 20 1 min.
Seated Calf Raise 2 20 10-20 sec.
Single-leg Box Jump (linear and lateral)* 2 40/ leg 1 min.

*Using a low box or step, do 20 reps linearly and 20 reps laterally per leg per set (80 total reps).