Developing the Lower Legs

Toe Raises Performed Incorrectly

Toe raises, for instance, performed where you raise out on the toes instead of up on the big toe and ball of the foot with the heels coming together produce not only a bow-legged look, but stretches the structures of the feet and weakens the arches.

(IronMan Magazine Nov 1973 Vol. 33 No. 1)

How To Train Stubborn Calves

A former student of yours told me you advice working stubborn calves every day. What exercise do you recommend on the off day?

I was also told that you do not work the calves maximum every day, but merely pump the calf on the off day. Is this information correct?

Your information is correct. The stubborn calf must be worked maximum 3 days a week and pumped 3 days a week. The following exercise is the one I recommend.


This exercise calls for a 4 inch calf block.

Assume position on calf block, with the balls of the feet spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart. Hold onto a table, pole, or lean against the wall with the arms outstretched.

Raise the left heel until the calf is fully contracted. At the top of the motion, bend the knee and shift the weight to the right leg and lower on the right leg. Raise on the right leg, and at the top, or contracted position, bend the knee and transfer the weight to the left leg and lower with this leg.

This is a very concentrated peaking exercise, and I know of no other gym in the country that teaches it.

How To Train For Bigger Calves

How can I build my lower legs so that they are in line with my 28” thighs.

I am 5’7” tall and have been working my calves hard for 6 months now with not too much result.

Why build 28” thighs? You have gone overboard. At 5’7” your thighs should not measure more than 24”.

First off I suggest that you cut out all heavy back squats and allow your thighs to reduce down. Then work your lower legs one day heavy and one day light. The secret of making a muscle big is by keeping the capillaries gorged with blood. We cannot increase the number of muscle fibers we have but we can increase the number of capillaries within the fiber.

This can give you far bigger calves than you thought possible.

How To Build Diamond Calves

Building lower legs has always been a problem for me Vince.

What help can you offer a poor victim of puny calf development such as myself? What about long distance running?

Here we go again! Work 'em hard and regularly!

Go for at least 15 reps and get as much stretch both up and down as you can.

Work barefooted on 4" blocks covered with a ½" of gum rubber so that toes can grip efficiently, and make the exercise progressive in difficulty (add weight).

Do no distance running. You will lose size this way.

How To Increase Calf Size

I am writing to you to find out how to increase my calf size.

Would this help me become faster so I would be able to run the 100 yard dash in about 9.3?

If you have anything on this, would you send it to me, please?

I feel that the fencers lunge for leg biceps and glutes should be of great benefit for a sprinter, as well as calf raises performed with heels together and coming up off the big toe because this is the push off position in sprinting.

You might also do the seated calf-toe raise machine as an aid.

Remember that nutrition is 90%; exercise is 10%.

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