Tip: Flutter Your Way To Bigger Calves

All you need is 100 excruciating reps and a wheelchair to help you get around the next day. Sound fun? Try this!


Hypertrophy From 100 Flutters

I've worked my calves for more than 60 years, and I know a thing or two about what causes them to grow. In my experience, your calves respond best to the following:

  • Only a few exercises
  • Medium-to-heavy resistance
  • Higher-than-normal reps
  • Partial reps
  • Pain of muscle fatigue
  • Pumped conditions
  • Cold water

Recently, I tried working the calves in an interesting way... after which one of my long-time trainees said, "Let's call these flutters." That was an appealing name. But what are flutters?

Flutters are where you move a short distance in the standing calf raise. For example, the bottom one-inch segment, and do faster-than-normal movements for 20 reps.

Besides the bottom one inch, I use the middle one inch, and the top one inch... in a specific order, for one lengthy, fluttering set.

The Routine

Calf Raise
  1. Place a moderately heavy resistance on a standing calf raise machine or load a barbell in a power rack. You'll need a sturdy block or secure portable ledge to stand on. Make sure the balls of your feet are securely on the ledge.
  2. Go to the bottom for a complete stretch and perform 20 flutter reps, moving approximately one inch, both up and down. All 20 reps should take you about 20 seconds.
  3. Move immediately to the middle range, again only one inch, and do 20 flutters. You should begin feeling a moderate burn in your calves.
  4. Get higher and try to stand on your big toes. Do another 20 flutters in the top-most position. Remember, these are fast short reps at the rate of one second per rep.
  5. Continue, with no rest, and return back into the middle range for another 20 quick reps. You should definitely be feeling a deep burn, but keep going.
  6. Stretch to the bottom one inch for a final 20 flutters.

So, bottom, middle, top, middle, bottom: 20, 20, 20, 20, 20! That's 100 reps in about 100 seconds.

Expect some soreness. Some of the soreness can be erased by soaking your calves in 72-degree F (or colder) water. If possible, try that for 5 to 10 minutes after your workout.

Do this routine twice per week with a few days between workouts, like on Monday/Thursday.

Dr Darden was director of research of Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries for 20 years. He is the author of a number of best-selling books, including The Nautilus Book, The Nautilus Diet, A Flat Stomach ASAP, and The New High Intensity Training. Dr. Darden was also recognized by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition as one of the top ten health leaders in the United States.

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Buy Dr Darden's book: 30-10-30: Metabolic Challenges for Building Muscle