5-Minute Calf Crusher

By Zach Dorworth

Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Seated Calf Raise

This post is for the unfortunate ones. The ones that were not genetically blessed with big-ole, thick, pork chop looking calves. Don't worry, you're not alone, I happen to be one of those guys too. But look at it on the bright side, it makes us more aerodynamic when we roundhouse kick the haters in the face. 

Seriously, I've got small calves. I work them endlessly day-in & day-out and see only minimal results. But some results are better than no results, so I keep at it. Genetics have never held me back before, why let them start now?

Related: {DUP} 1 Way to Make Sure Progress Never Stops

The calves are made up of two muscles: the gastrocnemius (which is the visible pork chop looking region) and the soleus that lies underneath it. 

Anatomy Diagram of the Calves

The gastrocnemius crosses the knee joint, which means it has two functions. It points our foot away from us (plantar flexion) and it aids in bending the knee. The soleus does not cross the knee joint so its only function is plantar flexion. They both work in tandem, but with certain exercises we can emphasize one over the other.

Like normal, we start with a compound movement that uses multiple muscles to move a large amount of weight. Doing calf raises with a slight bend in the knee will allow the use of both calf muscles to engage in moving the weight. 

Next, we will do seated calf raises. The gastrocnemius is not good at doing both of its functions at the same time. By bending the knee we are minimizing the gastroc's ability to perform plantar flexion. This means we are doing to primarily target the soleus. 

Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Pancake

Pancakes were eaten during the making of this post.

Finally, we move on to calf raises with our legs straightened and our knees locked out. This allows the gastrocnemius to focus only on plantar flexion. Since the soleus is still exhausted from the previous set, this allows us to target mainly the gastrocnemius. 

Related: Building Muscle and Losing Fat: The 3 Most Important Tips

Cues for the Calves

When doing calf raises it is important to keep your feet pointed straight and focus on trying to raise the weight onto your big toe. Most people roll their feet outwards and evenly distribute the weight across the balls of their feet. This is incorrect and decreases the range of motion of the entire exercise. 

Use this time efficient superset to tackle the entire range-of-motion and strength curve of the calves to stimulate new growth. This superset is nicely paired with the 5-Minute Six-Pack Abs Shredder at the end of a leg day.

Complete the entire superset 3 times, resting only 45 seconds in between each superset. One-superset includes: Bent knee calf raise, seated calf raise, and locked knee calf raise with no rest period. Use of proper form and the desired rep range will determine the weight used for each exercise. Do not reach failure during any set unless indicated. Short of Failure (SOF) means stopping one-rep prior to Total Failure. Total Failure (TF) is the inability to do anymore complete reps with proper form. Time Check: 5:24.

Exercise

Rep Range

Bent Knee Calf Raise

8 - 10

Seated Calf Raise

10 - 12

Locked Knee Calf Raise

6 - 8

Rest

45 Seconds

Bent Knee Calf Raise

8 - 10

Seated Calf Raise

10 - 12

Locked Knee Calf Raise

6 - 8

Rest

45 Seconds

Bent Knee Calf Raise

6 - 8 (SOF)

Seated Calf Raise

8 - 10 (TF)

Locked Knee Calf Raise

6 - 8 (TF)

Bent Knee Calf Raise

Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Standing Calf Raise 1
Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Standing Calf Raise 2

Seated Calf Raise

Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Seated Calf Raise 1
Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Seated Calf Raise 2

Locked Knee Calf Raise

Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Standing Locked Leg Calf Raise 1
Zach Dorworth That Flex Life Standing Locked Leg Calf Raise 2
Follow

About the Author

Zach Dorworth is a pharmacist and the founder of That Flex Life, a fitness community focused on making America swole again with thousands of monthly readers and a popular email newsletter.

>