Oak Roots

Arnold's training plan to turn his weak calves into a showcase muscle.

Lesson learned. The hyper-competitive Schwarzenegger didn’t like to lose and decided then and there that his calves would never hold back his bodybuilding aspirations again. He dedicated himself to building the biggest, most impressive pair of calves around, whatever it took. He cut all of his training sweatpants at the knees to constantly remind him they needed his attention, as they did their best to detract from what was otherwise a world-class physique.

He looked to his earliest childhood inspiration, the great Reg Park, for guidance in developing his calves. Park’s advice? Go heavy and hard. Don’t think of your calf training as something to be tacked onto the end of a workout here or there. Train them as you would any other bodypart — that, Park said, was the key to getting them to develop like any other body part.

Ever the diligent pupil, Schwarzenegger got right to work, hitting his calves with 500-pound standing calf raises, donkey raises and seated calf raises six days a week. The calf muscle was unlike other bodyparts, he reasoned, in that it was more stubborn, less apt to grow. But that didn’t mean it wouldn’t grow, just that he would have to be more persistent than ever.


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