Each steroid has that “sweet spot” where the dosage really kicks in and makes a difference. For example, if you take 10 mgs of dianabol, you might see some results, but if you took 50…WOW. And it’s more than just the increased amount that makes the difference. If you took 100mgs of dianabol you might get better gains but the sides effects would be so bad it wouldn’t be worth it. 30-50 is that “sweet spot.”

primobolan is mild so you’d need a higher dosage than, let’s say, testosterone. People can see good gains on as low as 250 mgs of test, whereas 250 mgs of primo would barely be noticeable. You’ll need 400 mgs. That’s when you start to see what it can do.

But how does this work when combining steroids?

The truth is, these dosage rules cease to apply when mixing three, four, or more compounds. In other words, that magical 30 mg mark of dball doesn’t matter if you’re also using 50 mgs of turinabol! Also, there’s a cumulative effect so it gets to the point where its really a matter of the TOTAL amount of EVERYTHING that’s will determine results. And in that regard it’s fair to say, anything over 1000mgs a week is overkill. And that includes orals. People don’t realize that 50 mgs of an oral a day is an additional 350 mgs of drug. That ain’t exactly sprinkles on your ice cream cone. It’s a lot of drug! And they all count.

Now, as mentioned, some drugs are stronger than others, so wouldn’t a primo/var cycle require more total mgs than a Test/anadrol cycle? The answer is, yes …but not really. You see, it isn’t so much the dosage as what the drugs due. The primo/var is likely to build as much muscle as the Test/Drol cycle but with a lot less water weight and consequently less size and less strength. So it all depends on what you want.

Persoanlly, I feel that more than 2 injectables is a waste. It isn’t like we have deca resceptors and halo receptors. They all do the same thing, just in slightly different ways and with different side effects. They’re all androgenic and they’re all anabolic. So what’s the point of combining 5 steroids to get an andro/anabolic ratio that can be obtained with TWO steroids at the same total dosage? Using less compounds will also give a better understanding of how you react to a particular compound.

So keep it simple. A lot of the old timers used just dbol and made great gains and many of the pros I’ve known use just one injectable and one oral. These days with high tech supplements it’s possible to use LESS than ever and make BETTER gains!

So don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better and that a steroid needs a certain amount to work. They all work together and it’s the TOTAL amount that matters. And how hard you bust your ass in the gym!

There once was a time when steroids were the stuff that pharmaceutical companies sold. (Yeah, believe it or not!) And naturally, there were always some enterprising individuals who got a hold of them and sold them for profit. It wasn’t that hard. That’s because they were legal. Once they were deemed controlled substances everything changed. (Thank you Joe Biden).

Steroids were far more difficult to get and far more expensive. This also led to an interesting and disturbing trend in the black market – fake steroids. Dealers would fill vials with either diluted versions of whatever compounds they had (usually testosterone) mix it with some cooking oil and sell it as whatever you wanted. Want some primo? Here ya go – testosterone and Wesson. Want some deca? Here ya go – same shit. And if they ran out of testosterone, oil was all you got. Saccarin tablets were a good substitute for dbol and winny – especially if you ordered from some classified ad in the back of a magazine. These slimeballs would take your money and run – and probably buy some real steroids for themselves.

But around this time there were more and more bodybuilding enthusiasts who were interested in the chemistry of steroids. This led to an obvious conclusion. Why sell fakes when you can manufacture the real thing for pennies?!?! And you can get REPEAT customers. Thus was the beginning of what was known as “Undergroud Labs. “

The truth be told, these companies weren’t labs at all. In fact, they were usually a couple of guys brewing the stuff up in their kitchens. And much like the bootleggers of the 1930’s they were gangster hero’s to those who wanted to get their fix anyway they can.

Then something called the internet came along and it changed everything once again. With the added competition, the quality of each lab was on the line and everyone using the products could meet on message boards and discuss it. This knocked the UG Lab trade into high gear and only the strong survived.

Today, there are still scammers, rip off artists and crappy labs that’ll sell to unsuspecting noobs to make a fast buck. But in general, a quality lab is a true find.

So how does this stuff compare to pharm grade? The reality is, unless a test is done (which are not only expensive but uncertain since quality can differ one batch to the next.) there’s no way of telling for certain.

Pharm grade is ALWAYS “pharm grade” and for that reason some people will still seek out the legit brands. But since labeling has become far more sophisticated, there’s no way of telling if your Pharm grade is actually the real deal! It could be UG in a fake bottle – at an extra price tag.

In some cases, there are some products which are actually made in a real lab and sold in Asia, and THAT is then resold on the black market. Think of it as a generic brand. It must pass inspection, but it’s still not EXACTLY the same, just as Wallmart cola isn’t exactly Coca-Cola. But it’s always good Mon Cherie! And for that reason many experienced users opted for that. But today, even those connections are drying up.

So what’s a self respecting juice junkie to do? Simply go with a reliable source. An experienced user will know real primo from eq and a smart lab wouldn’t try to pass one off for the other. They can make more money doing it legitimately. There have been tests on some UG labs products that have actually rated HIGHER than the required dose. And why not? The stuff is dirt cheap to make so it makes sense to develop a good reputation and customer service.

Just make sure the people you deal with ARE reliable. It can still get pretty ugly out there.

The days of Shering primo and UpJohn test and Ciba dianabol are over for the most part. But between good UG labs and advanceents in supplementation, today’s gear hound can make gains better than ever. You just have to know where to shop!

It’s incredible when you stop and think about it, but bodybuilding hasn’t been around for all that long.   Sure, it’s roots stem back to the beginning of the 20th century but way up until the 1980’s it was always regarded as some weird subculture hobby. Not too many people even thought about lifting weights.  But those who did, got laid a lot more. :  )

It was the film Pumping Iron that started what today, is an accepted part of  remaining healthy, strong and muscular. But it’s still reserved for a select few.  It still takes work and commitment.

Obviously, the use of anabolics have completely changed the game.  And the availability through the internet has made its use more commonplace than anyone ever thought was possible.  Instead of looking  fit, it’s possible to look like a god.  In 1950 Charles Atlas was considered to have the ultimate body.  Today, he’d  be considered just another guy at the gym.

We’re still in the embryonic stages of knowing how this advantage will play out.  The theories are twofold.  If drug use is overdone, we’re going to see a lot of damage.  But if done right, we’re going to see (and already are seeing)  guys remaining  young and strong into their 40’s, 50’s 60’s…and…who knows?

Another HUGE advantage is with supplements.  Remember, the advent of vitamins is just about 60 years old.  That changed everything.  Suddenly, people never had to suffer from a deficiency of any kind.  That’s difficult to fathom in this day and age, but at one time it was commonplace.

Using supplements has always been a part of the bodybuilders protocol. Whatever provided an advantage was tried and tested. Some helpd.  Most didn’t.  But still, they tried.

It was in the 80’s and 90’s that  there was a ton of bogus supplements all pretending to act like steroids.  (Since steroids were so difficult to get at that time).   And although there’s still  a lot of crap out there, there have been some astounding advances.  Today’s lifters have an advantage so great, we don’t even know where it will lead with constant use, but the promise is pretty exciting.

So between new training equipment, the availability of gear and state of the art supplements, will this lead to a generation of physical marvels never before possible?   It already has.  Maybe you’re one of them.

Pretty cool, isn’t it?


An Interview With Don Howorth

by Nelson Montana

It can be said that bodybuilding consists of two

distinct eras. Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, and

after. Prior to Pumping Iron which brought this once

quirky cult activity to the fore of the public’s

consciousness, bodybuilding was not understood or

accepted. Its participants were freaks and outcasts.

It was an activity that attracted followers not

because it was popular, but in spite of it. No one

rose in the ranks in the hope of having a career as a

bodybuilder. No such thing existed. It was a labor of

love– with heavy emphasis on the labor.

By the early 1960’s things started to change.

Bodybuilding began to slowly develop a larger following

while still remaining small enough to maintain its

“underground” status. The enthusiastic bodybuilding

fans who followed their heroes’ exploits in the pages

of Mr. America and Muscle Builder magazines were well

aware which small select group of men had the very best

physiques on the planet. By the year 1967 rolled

around, it was obvious one of those men was Don


Don had what many believed to be the ideal shape —

similar to Frank Zane in aesthetics but with 20 1/4

inch arms, an unparalleled lat spread and an awesome

pair of shoulders that were his trademark. Yeah, those

shoulders — huge cantaloupe delts that spread so wide

it looked as if he needed to turn sideways to walk

through a doorway. At a time when the slightest bit of

muscle was an oddity, Don Howorth possessed Super Hero

proportions. What’s especially interesting is that it

would be unlikely that any bodybuilder today wouldn’t

say Don had as near a perfect body as can be imagined.

And what may be even more telling is that there

probably isn’t a person alive today, man or woman,

bodybuilder or not, who wouldn’t agree.

Don burst onto the bodybuilding scene as one of the

Weider stable of stars. He, along with such

dignitaries as Larry Scott, Chuck Sipes, Harold Poole,

Bill McCardle and Dave Draper, dominated the top ranks

of bodybuildings’ elite. Much like the aforementioned men, Don had more

than a great physique. He also had the classic good looks that Weider prized when he was still trying to convice a reluctant public that muscles had “sex appeal.”

Howorth started to get noticed when in

1962 he promptly won the Mr. Los Angeles, followed by

the Mr. California title in 1963, and finally, the

coveted Mr. America, where he obliterated the

competition with his ungodly width tapered which into an

impossibly narrow waistline. He was destined for

greatness. Yet instead of cashing in on his fame and good looks, just

as bodybuilding was becoming a national phenomenon, he

walked away from it all, never to return. You won’t find any Don

Howorth training courses or supplements that he

endorsed or even a website promoting his former glory.

And that’s just the way he wants it.

Today, just shy of his 70th birthday,(Born Nov 6th 1934) Don Howorth is

still around, still in shape, and still calling his own shots. In this

exclusive we explore the mind

and the enigma of the man affectionately known to his

fans as “The Duke of Delts.”

IM: Hi Don, thanks for taking the time to talk with Ironman.

DH: Hi Nelson. You’ll have to speak up, I don’t hear

very well. Then again, I’ve heard it all already, know

what I mean?

MI: Absolutely.

Im: There are a lot of things to cover about your


DH: Wait a minute, tell me something first…what prompted you to pull

my name out of a hat?

MI: Well, Don…believe it or not, I was at the

Brooklyn Academy of Music in September 1967 when you

won the Mr. America contest.

DH: Ha! You’re the second person in the last couple of

days who told me that. I didn’t think anyone remembered

that far back. It’s been a long time past. I guess if

you live long enough you become a “legend.”

MI: When you stepped out on stage, it was obvious to

me, the contest was all over.

DH: Thanks for saying so, but the funny thing about

that contest was I heard during the pre-judging I was

losing to Rock Stonewall (great name!) so before the

night show, I ate an entire pot roast. I felt like I

was going to pop! But it filled me out and I won the


IM: That’s when you really started getting noticed. It seemed like you were on the cover of every magazine.

DH: I was getting attention but by the time the “America” came and went, I knew by I was about to stop the

competing. And of course, dealing with Joe Weider was

always a pain in the ass.

IM: I was going to ask you about that. What was your

relationship like with the Weiders?

DH: I don’t want to upset anyone, but I just didn’t

like to bow down to anybody, you know? I don’t like

being “used.” Even when I competed in the AAU, I

resented the fact that weightlifting was a part of the

judging. I told the officials that they should put some

of those fat ass weightlifters in posing trunks and see

how well they do! My attitude was bad sometimes. It was the same with Weider. I didn’t want to play by his rules.

IM: What about working as a Weider model? You were in

dozens of photo ads for the magazines. Did that pay


DH: I never got a damn dime for any of that! Nobody got

paid in those days. We just did it for the recognition.

Weider kept saying “Look what I’ve done for you!” I

said; “What have you done?! You made $26,000 on the

last show and I can’t even get any free supplements

from you!” I had to go to Rheo Blair for my

supplements, which were much better anyway.

IM: What about the training articles? Did they pay? I guess I should ask, were they

actually written by the bodybuilders or were they all

ghost written? Obviously that was the case with Arnold

and Sergio since they could barely speak English.

DH: I wrote my own articles, but once they got hold of

them you wouldn’t know it. I was never paid for that


MI: You mentioned Rheo Blair. How much of difference

did Rheo’s diet plan and supplements make?

DH: Oh, a big difference. Rheo was so smart. People

thought he was crazy advocating a low carb, high

Protein and high fat diet and of course that’s what

they’re using today. Actually, Carlton Fredricks was

recommending the same thing back in the 1930’s so it’s

nothing new. But I think supplements are about seventy

percent of the whole thing. When I started using his

Protein with cream, that’s when I really started

growing. I put on some fat too, but you have to put on

some fat to put on size to get bigger. I also used

vitamin C, digestive enzymes and powdered liver.

IM: Powdered liver…yum! How’d you get that down?

DH: Hey, we didn’t have many options. When I trained

at Vic Tannys, I used to go to the pet shop and buy the

wheat germ oil they sold for dogs! That’s how crazy it

was. We were all experimenting.

IM: What about diet. Did you lose a lot of weight

prior to a show?

DH: I never lost more than 3 pounds before a show. I

wanted the weight! Back then, we didn’t get sloppy in the off season. There was no off season! We were always in shape. Right up until contest time

I’d eat up to two pounds of meat, a quart of raw milk,

a quart of cream and

two to three dozen eggs a day.

IM: Did you say three DOZEN eggs?

DH: Yep, yolks and all. That’s what you want. The fat

in the egg yolk is a natural precursor to testosterone.

IM: How much mass did you put on at that time?

DH: I don’t remember how much I gained for the show, but overall, I started at 160 and ended up at my highest weight of 235.

IM: You’re known as a disciple of Vince Gironda. Was

he a big influence on you?

DH: Yeah, he taught me about diet and posing but he

never really trained me. In many ways I got bigger by

doing what Vince told me NOT to do! I came from the

Pasadena gym which was owned by Gene Mozee and Vince’s

gym was like Stonehenge compared to that — very old

fashioned. The lat pull down was the one originally

made by Jack LaLanne back in the 40’s.

IM: What was an example of your training like back


DH: I was always a hardgainer. I worked out up to three

to four hours a session, six to seven days a week. When

preparing for the Mr. California, I trained twice a

day. I did up to 40 sets a bodypart.

IM: Forty sets?!?! WOW! I guess the term “overtraining “ didn’ t exist then! It sure seemed to work though. I suppose those who had the

genetics to tolerate that much volume excelled, and those who

couldn’t tolerate it…well, it didn’t matter anyway.

DH: It was too much, but nobody knew. Someone would

say;” Reg Park built his chest by doing 30 sets of

bench presses,” so I did forty. Later on I found out

Reg never did more than ten or twelve sets. (Laughs)

IM: You retired in 1967, just as bodybuilding was

becoming big. Why stop then?

DH: It’s funny to hear you say that, because I had no

idea it was growing in popularity beyond our little

circle and of course no one thought it would become

what it is today. People asked me why I didn’t do the

Olympia, but who in their right mind would go up

against Sergio? He was unbeatable. I would have to wait

until Sergio retired the way Zane held out until Arnold

stepped down. But I was burned out by that point. I

was 32 years old, I wasn’t making any money. I was

working a full time job as a film editor. Plus, a lot

of people today have a hard time comprehending how

bodybuilding wasn’t accepted. People treated you like

you had no brain and I didn’t care for that particular

attitude. I enjoyed bodybuilding but there was just no

future in it. I also got sick of worrying about always

looking in top condition. I got tired of always trying

to be pumped and maintaining a 29 inch waist. Once I

realized I didn’t have to spend every waking hour

thinking about building muscles, I felt as if I’d been


IM: You also had the perfect look for the movies. Since

muscle stars were coming back, why didn’t you pursue a

career in acting?

DH: I did a couple of things but the movie business is

crazy and the people in it are crazy. I’m a private

person and I didn’t want it.

IM: Any regrets?

DH: I don’t think you can do that in life. I want to

look ahead and do my thing. These days I train some

people and work with kids who are into sports.

Another reason I quit competition was because I felt I

needed to find myself. It was the 60’s and attitudes

were changing. We were searching and exploring new

philosophies and spirituality. This was the hippie

generation and there was more acceptance for things

that were different and that lifestyle suited me. I

wanted to try new things. I lived the part — had long

hair and did some experimenting with marijuana. I

even applied it to training to see if it would help in

my focus. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as tolerated as it

is now and I got nabbed with some stuff and paid the

consequence. That took four years out of my life, but I

survived it, for better or worse. A lot of the guys

didn’t make it.

IM: Speaking of experimentation, the 60’s were the

time when steroids began being used, which in some ways

explains the sudden leap in muscularity from the pros

just 10 years prior. There’s an understanding that the

dosages used were minuscule compared to today’s

competitors, yet a lot of younger people still can’t

believe you and Scott and Draper could get so muscular

on such low doses. So let’s clear the air… exactly what were

the typical dosages of that time, or more specifically,

what did you use?

DH: I think what people don’t realize is, we made such

good gains on such low dosages because we worked our

asses off! Today, everybody’s relying on the drugs. Put

some of these guys today through the ball busting

workouts we did and they’d never make it. Personally,

I used a fairly large amount of dianabol — ten

milligrams a day before the Mr. America contest.

IM: Ten milligrams? That’s it? That’s two pills! Guys

today take up to 20 pills a day along with a thousand
or so milligrams of injectables.

DH: At one point I used 20 mgs a day but then I started

to retain a lot of water. We heard things about it but

didn’t really know much. Some people said that it

didn’t increase strength, but that was bull. I took 5

mgs of dianabol for 4 weeks and my bench press went

from up thirty five pounds! I noticed I recovered a lot

faster and got great pumps. But I never took any

injectables. I never even knew about them. The only

injection I ever had was when I was in the Navy and I

didn’t like it! (Laughs)

IM: Did you experience any side effects?

DH: I think it was such a small amount, I never noticed

any problems.

MI: A lot of people consider the 1960’s the heyday of

bodybuilding. Dave Draper has spoken about it being a

“magical” time. Did you get that sense at the time, or

is this just a rosy nostalgic perspective?

DH: I think everyone looks back at their youth as the

most impressionable period. For me it was the 50’s.

But as far as bodybuilding back then, if anything, it

was looked down on. I didn’t like that. People would

ask if I was a football player and when I told them I

was bodybuilder they’d say, “What’s that? A

weightlifter? They didn’t even know what a

bodybuilder was. But it was a personal thing for me.

Also, women used to look at me in disgust. Every now

and then you’d find someone who liked it. One time a

friend of mine picked up a couple of stewardesses and

we finally got them back to our apartment. When I took

my shirt off, one of them was totally turned off while

the other one was like a dog in heat! They started out

saying that bodybuilders can’t have sex, so I said,

bring a couple of more friends over so they can take

over once I’m through with you! (Laughs)

IM: Are you aware that you still have a lot of fans?

DH: Until very recently I had no idea. I’m bowled over

that so many people remember. We never got any

recognition back then. I’m amazed more people know of

me now than they did back then.

IM: Guys like you and Larry Scott are like the Babe

Ruths and Lou Gehrigs of the sport!

DH: That blows my mind. It’s incredible to even think

about that. When Artie Zeller passed away, I went to

the service — everyone was there. Even Arnold was

there. And someone came up to me and asked `Are you Don

Howorth?” I said, “Yeah, what’s left of me.” It was a

woman who said she had my pictures up in her garage

when she trained. I didn’t know women worked out with

weights back then. But I’m starting to get a little

sense of it all. I was recently chosen as the first

inductee into the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame.

IM: Are you still training?

DH: Yeah, I still do about an hour and a half a day,

five days a week. I haven’t gone for more than three

days without working out in twenty years. I have to. I

hardly bench press anymore but yesterday I was working

with 225. Of course, that used to be my 25 rep warm up!

But I feel great, and I want to stay away from doctors

because I don’t trust most of them. I’m afraid if I

went to one he’d tell me I’m already dead!

IM: (Laughs) Yeah, wise up — you’re supposed to be

long gone!

DH: Right! But when the docs last checked my heart it

sounded as strong as a freight train. He said to me; Do

you exercise? I said, “Yeah — a little.”

(At this point, Don was distracted by his cat.)

DH: Sorry, my cat is acting up. I had to have him

neutered. He’d get in trouble every time he got a

stiff one.

IM: Who hasn’t!?

DH: (Laughs) Yeah, we’ve all done that.

IM: The one question our readers would not

let me get away without asking is; what was your delt

training program?

DH: People think I’m naturally wide but that’s not

really true. I mostly did many, many years of presses

behind the neck.

IM: A great exercise, and one which, incidentally,

was once believed to widen the shoulder blades. But

these days it’s shunned. A lot of exercise experts say

it’s stressing to the rotator cuff.

DH: Well, I started developing some shoulder problems

and scar tissue recently from all the years of heavy

presses behind the neck.

IM: Well, you’re seventy!

DH: (Laughs) Yeah, I guess I’m starting to get old!

IM: Anything else for the delts?

DH: I also liked dumbell presses. I also avoided shrugs

because the traps build up fast and they make you look

less wide. Looking wider was always the look we went for. Today,

it’s different.

IM: You obviously had the genetics for great delts,

but what was the toughest bodypart to develop?

DH: Thighs! I trained them real hard, mostly with Hack

Squats. Lots of them. They didn’t have the machines

like today though. We even had to do hacks without a

machine, just holding the bar behind the back of our

legs. A lot of guys didn’t concentrate on leg training

back then but I wanted them better. I was squatting

with 425.

IM: When you were working out up to two hours a day,

you weren’t doing any cardio were you?

DH: Ha! What a joke! I used to work out with as little

as a 20 second break between sets. Who needs cardio when you’re doing that?

IM: That’ll get your heart rate up!

DH: That’s right. Weight training is anaerobic AND

aerobic. You don’t have to run. If you do too much

cardio, your metabolism goes CLUNK. I’d also work abs

every day. In my spare time I’d tense and pose them.

Even while driving, I’d grab the steering wheel and

suck in a press down hard to tighten the abs.

IM: Any opinions on the current state of


DH: Guys compete today to make money, but in the 60’s

we did it because it was in our heart. I started

working out because I got tired of everybody kicking my

ass! When I got bigger, nobody picked on me. I went to

the IronMan a couple of years ago and when I saw these

guys posing all I could think was `what’s wrong with

their stomachs?’ These guys have a twenty inch arm and

a forty inch gut! They couldn’t even suck their guts

in from all the junk they take…growth hormone,

insulin and all that crap. It doesn’t look human. It

looks terrible. They all

train the same, they all take the same drugs, they all

use the same diet, the same equipment, so they all look

the same. After 10 minutes, I walked out. It’s much

easier today. The supplements are better…you don’t

even have to get a tan! It comes in a bottle! We would

sit out in the sun which would drain us and then we’d

work out for two hours. It’s a different world.

IM: Well, on that note let me ask you this… If you

could do it all over again…. would you rather be

starting out now?

DH: No. I’ll take my day. I wouldn’t want it any other


IM: Any last words of advice for our readers?

DH: You have to have a plan. If you just want to throw

the weights around a little for fun, that’s fine. But

if you really want to excel, you have to know what

you’re doing and focus on accomplishing your goal.

That’s the key.

IM: Don it’s been a treat. I think you’ve given our

readers a lot to think about. Thank you so much for

your time.

DH: My pleasure.

At one time, a body like Don Howorths was

misunderstood, even disdained. Forty years later, his

classic look epitomizes manly perfection. It took the

world almost half a century to figure out what our iron

ancestors knew all along. A symmetrical body hewn from

hard work is a thing of beauty. Chiseled muscle is

timeless. In that regard, Don Howorth was ahead of his

time. He is truly one of the greats of the game. It’s

just that a lot of people didn’t know it. Including

Don Howorth. #

Cooked Calves In Under  3 Minutes

Nelson Montana

How are your calves? Mine suck. Actually, by normal people’s standards, they’re pretty good. But by bodybuilding standards…well, let’s just say that Dorian Yates wouldn’t be intimidated by a toe-to-toe comparison.

So if my calves are only “so so”, what makes me qualified to write an article on calve training? Doesn’t it make more sense to hear from someone with extraordinary calves? Ironically, anyone with outstanding calve development is the last person to be  giving advice on improving the lower leg. They’re the ones who have it easy — the lucky few  born with lots of fast twitch fibers in the lower legs.   That’s because, more than any other muscle group, the size and shape of one’s calves is  determined by heredity. People with a genetic disposition for shapely muscular calves need only to walk and their calves will look good. Bastards.

For the rest of us mere mortals, it’s different. Like most bodybuilders, my calves  have always resisted growth–so much so that not too long ago they bore a striking resemblance to a pair of pool cues. It was pitiful! I’ve had to battle for every centimeter of growth but despite all the effort, nothing

seemed to help. I tried everything. Then it hit me. It was so simple. (As most “discoveries” are.)

After years of trial and error, I finally found the secret to adding precious muscle tissue onto those stubborn soleus.


Let’s face it, the calves are pretty limited in the way they can be trained. Everything is a toe raise of some sort. Add into the mix that they don’t provide a satisfying pump, as is the case when working the chest or arms. They just burn. The key to killer calves isn’t in the exercises, but in the method in which they’re employed.

There are two theories to calve training. Because the muscle group consists of mostly slow twitch (red) muscle fibers, the potential for growth is limited. Slow twitch muscles are designed for endurance, leaving the presumption that the calves should be trained with high reps. The opposite school of thought is: because the calves are used to performing thousands of reps each day (walking and running) they need to be “shocked” with low reps and heavy weight. “Light” work won’t work since the thick ankle bone and Achilles tendon are capable of withstanding tremendous pressure, therefore it stands to reason that working the calves with a heavy load would be necessary. Both theories are valid. Both theories are flawed.


It’s been my experience that calves respond best when worked quickly.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that the reps should be fast.  Instead, the total reps should be condensed into as little time as possible.

That’s the key.

It may be hard to believe that any workout session that lasts for only a few minutes can be very effective. Yet, in the case of calve training, it’s not only possible–it’s preferable.

Here’s how it’s done.

Pick only one calve exercise.  (I prefer the seated calve raise.)  Your goal will be to reach 75 reps.

Use a weight that you would normally choose for a twenty rep set.

Complete the 20 reps  and continue until you can’t do another rep.

Rest just long enough for the burning to subside (no longer than 10 seconds) and continue with as many reps as possible, even if it’s only 5 reps at a time.

Proceed in this fashion until you reach the target goal of 75.

That’s it! Total time? Under 4 minutes. Granted, it’s a very painful four minutes, but four minutes nonetheless.


You may  feel a tinge of guilt that the routine took so little time but you’ll have a different point of view the next day when your calves are aching like they’ve never ached before! Do not be tempted to do more work! Wait and see. If you’re still able to walk, you either didn’t go heavy enough or you allowed too much time between “sets.”

Once you’re able to tolerate this routine, increase the number of reps to 100. Once that becomes too easy, (which I wouldn’t count on happening in the near future) add more weight.

I found this routine to be, by far, the most effective method for packing some well earned muscle onto the calves. Even the hardest gainer can add size and shape to their lower leg  as long as they can tolerate the torture required to “keep going” and complete the work out in as short  a duration as possible. But make no mistake about it–when following this program it’s going to feel as if someone is pouring acid on your calves! (And who says calve training can’t be fun?)

Now you don’t have any excuses. Four minutes is nothing! But a great pair of calves is a most envious “finished touch” to the complete physique. If this routine worked for me, (stick leg Nellie) it can work for anyone. Give this four minute workout a try for a month  and see for yourself if it doesn’t make a dramatic difference in the size and shape of your calves.

Even if your calves aren’t your best bodypart, there’s no reason they can’t look good. All it takes is 4 minutes a week. And a high tolerance for pain.