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 outraged.

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 tanker.

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 mountain.

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 easily.

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 set.

Exercise B: Standing Calf Raises

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

**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 knife.)

Day 2: Low-Volume (to be done 48 hours after Day 1)

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.