Lee Priest Explains How To Train Calves For Size

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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In the world of bodybuilding, Lee Priest stands as a beacon of knowledge and wisdom.

One particular area where he has been widely acclaimed is calf training, a subject often overlooked or misinterpreted by many.

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Throughout his illustrious career, Priest displayed some of the most well-developed calves in the industry.

His approach to training calves, distilled through his long experience, offers insightful guidance for those looking to maximize their gains.

Priest’s Philosophy on Calf Training

Lee Priest’s belief is rooted in the idea that the calves, much like the forearms, owe much of their size and shape to genetics.

However, he insists that this doesn’t mean one cannot see significant progress with the right training methodology.

In essence, he proposes that regardless of genetics, consistency and diligence in training can yield great results.

Not Heavy, But Light and Right

Contrary to popular belief, Priest advocates for lighter weights combined with full range of motion, instead of simply piling on the weights.

The objective, according to Priest, is to stimulate muscle growth without jeopardizing form and safety.

He has been candid about his preference for standing calf raises or donkey calf raises over the seated variant, the latter he found uncomfortable for his ankles.

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Interestingly, Priest shows that one can cleverly utilize a leg press machine for calf exercises, demonstrating his creative approach to training.

It’s About the Burn, Not the Reps

Priest’s unconventional approach extends to the concept of repetitions.

While conventional wisdom revolves around set reps and sets, Priest urges enthusiasts to train until they feel the burn.

This, he explains, is because calves are accustomed to strenuous work, owing to the fact that we use them every time we walk or stand.

In his training regime, it’s not uncommon to do hundreds of reps for calves.

But, as always, Priest’s focus is on quality, not quantity. He stresses on performing as many good form reps as one can manage, then transitioning to shorter reps to fully exhaust the muscles.

No Equipment? No Problem!

One of the most appealing aspects of Priest’s philosophy is its inclusiveness.

He believes that you don’t necessarily need fancy gym equipment to train your calves effectively. Even a simple step can be a great tool for calf raises.

This democratises training to a large extent and makes it more accessible for those who might not have access to a fully-equipped gym.

Lee Priest Explains How To Train Calves (Video)

Final Thoughts

Lee Priest’s calf training methods underline his broader philosophy on bodybuilding – that it’s not about lifting the heaviest weights or having access to the most expensive equipment.

Instead, it’s about understanding your body, respecting your limitations, and constantly striving for progress, not perfection.

The ‘Giant Killer’s insights offer valuable advice to novices and experienced bodybuilders alike, emphasising the importance of technique, form, and perseverance in the pursuit of bodybuilding excellence.

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