by Peary Rader Iron Man Magazine
Here’s a new system for working the calves that’s guaranteed to bring results. It was developed by Jim McLellan of Denver. He always had difficulty with his calves and felt they were much below par. He tried every system imaginable, but he got no results.
By experimentation and analysis he developed the system we’re about to describe. With it he put 1 1/2 inches on his calves and expects even more gains. Other men at his gym also got results. Ray Tipton, a physique competitor who hadn’t gained on his calves in 10 years, put one inch on his calves in six weeks. Others added two inches in three months.
McLellan’s system uses rest/pause, burns and supersets in a combination that literally forces the calf muscles to grow. It will give you that deep-down ache and soreness that make you realize that something is happening to your calf muscles.
Start with a weight on standing calf raises that will permit you to do just 15 repetitions correctly—very strictly and smoothly. Rise up as high as possible until your calves almost cramp—try to get higher, and then lower all the way down and stretch the calves. Try to go all the way down—you may not make it at first, but after a workout or two your calf muscles will stretch so you can. Full-range movements are important. Don’t hurry those reps—feel them all the way through.
Now stand on one foot and raise the other and shake it with your calf muscle relaxed—the muscle should “flop” around as you shake it. Then switch legs and shake the other calf. Do that two times with both legs—it should take no more than eight seconds—and immediately do eight more reps of calf raises. After that do the two leg shakes again, then eight more reps, two leg shakes and eight more reps. So it’s 15 reps, shake, eight reps, shake, eight reps, shake, eight reps.
Immediately after the last set and with no rest, do burns—short-range movements with bodyweight in the middle range of the stroke. They’re fast and bouncy. Do them until the calves really ache. You should actually bounce off the block slightly and come down with the force of your bodyweight. Just spring off the block and come down on those calf muscles with a crash. Your toes don’t actually have to leave the block, but your weight leaves your toes for a fraction of a second and then they crash down against those calf muscles.
After that your calves will be screaming for rest, but don’t give in to them. Do calf raises on both feet, and while in the high position take one foot off the block and slowly lower on the other foot. In other words, you go up on two feet and come down on one foot. Now go up on two feet again and come down on the opposite foot. Continue alternating legs for 10 to 20 reps, depending on what you can stand. That’s one set.
After a short rest, go through the whole routine again for another set—from beginning to end. Don’t rest more than five minutes from one set to the next. During the rest, massage your calf muscles lightly and shake your legs to loosen them up.
After doing this for two weeks, add the following to each set: When you finish the two-up/one-down portion, do another set of burns—the short-range, bouncy movements followed by another round of two-up/one-downs.
That routine should be sufficient for the first two or three months. If you cease to gain, then add another set. After two to three months, however, you should probably give your calves a rest—then run them through the program again.