The Luke Sauder Calf Routine

Exercise of the Week


We’ve done it again. We wrote about a workout instead of a specific exercise. Literalists everywhere are probably

No matter. Once they try this calf routine, all the piss and
vinegar will leak out of them like oil out of a rusty Albanian

This routine, like last week’s, comes to us courtesy of
Charles Poliquin. We first posted a version of it back in 1998,
when Charles was just a spry young strength coach with sweaty
flanks and a shiny coat.

Charles originally devised this program for Olympic skier Luke
Sauder. The idea was to build Luke’s calves up so big that
they’d actually provide a cushion to prevent his knees from
reaching too severe an angle as he jets down the

It worked.

Before we give you the routine, let us relay some of
Charles’ thoughts on calf training. Part of the problem in
growing the calves is the limited range of motion afforded by calf
movements. If you’re doing squats, for instance, the range of
motion is considerable and it’s easy to vary the tempo. For
instance, you can complete the eccentric component of a squat over
the course of 3,4, or 5 seconds pretty easily. Not so with calf
movements; the range of motion is about as short as the one you
might use to pleasure yourself and you can’t vary the tempo as

As such, you have to work the snot out of your calves.
Let’s take a look at the actual routine:

The Luke Sauder Calf Routine

Day 1: High-Volume

Exercise A: Calf Superset*

A1) Seated Calf Raises: 3 x 10-5-5 (one set of 10 reps, followed
by two of 5 reps) at a 101 tempo (1 second to lower the weight, no
pause, and 1 second to raise the weight)

A2) Donkey Calf Raises: 3 x 30-50 at a 101 tempo

*After finishing a set of the A1 exercise, proceed immediately
to exercise A2. Then rest two minutes before repeating the super

Exercise B: Standing Calf Raises

B1) Standing Calf Raises: 10 x 10-30 at a 111 tempo, ten

**In other words, you’ll be doing one, long, extended set,
resting ten seconds between each mini-set and lowering the weight
in between.

(Caution! Your calves will cause you great pain following this
workout. Resist the urge to hack them off with a butcher

Day 2: Low-Volume (to be done 48 hours after Day

Exercise A: Triple Drop Standing Calf Raises

A1) Triple Drop Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10-10-10 (in other
words, three drop sets) at a 121 tempo,*** resting 90 seconds
between sets.

***The pause is taken in the bottom stretch position, and be
sure to take the full two seconds.

Do this routine twice over a five-day cycle.

Charles swears the routine provides freaky size increases as it
provides an ideal mix of frequency and volume. He’s known
people to gain anywhere from 5/8ths of an inch to a full inch with
this routine in as little as 30 days.

Let us know if he’s right.