4-Time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler Shares His 3 Favorite Calf Exercises

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Four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler accomplished more in bodybuilding than most competitors can even dream of — and one of the most memorable moments from his career was the iconic “quad stomp” from the 2009 Mr. Olympia.

The moment put Cutler’s unreal leg development on full display, but just how great would that pose have looked if his calves were lagging behind?

Building a stellar set of calves is challenging for most gym-goers, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the topics that Cutler is often asked to address by his fans. Recently, the icon took to social media to reemphasize his take. Check it out:

[Related: 10 Men’s Open Bodybuilders With Championship-Quality Calves]

When to Train Calves According to Cutler

“Everyone always wants to know how you have the developed calf muscle,” Cutler said in the video. “Now, I focus on 12 repetitions, and I do at least three working sets per exercise. Always, always training calves on chest day, which is once every five-to-six days.”

While training calves on chest day, rather than during a leg session, may seem like a novel idea, Cutler was actually talking about this concept back in 2017 during an interview with

“I try to tell everyone to train (calves) like every other body part. I trained my calves once per week, usually on chest day,” he told the website. “My theory is that, because you walk around on your calves all day, you’re already doing a lot of reps with light weight. Why would I go into the gym and do the exact same thing? So, I did heavy weight and got those full contractions.”

Jay Cutler’s Three Favorite Calf Exercises

When it comes to the actual exercises, Cutler highlighted a trio of his favorites.

“What I try to focus on is at least two to three movements,” Cutler said on Instagram. “Definitely the standing calf machine raise, the seated calf machine raise, and then sometimes the donkey calf (machine) if it’s available in the gym.”

Try it for yourself:

  • Standing Calf Raise Machine: 3 x 12
  • Seated Calf Raise Machine: 3 x 12
  • Donkey Calf Raise Machine: 3 x 12

Jay Cutler’s Calf Training Tips

“Stick with heavy weights,” Cutler said when asked about calves in a previous YouTube Q&A session. “You wanna get that full contraction, so you might notice that when I do calf raises, it’s always like a jump and then like a double pump.”

[Related: These 10 Bodybuilders Had the Most Impressive Olympia Debuts in History]

Rather than include more exercises than necessary for his calves, Cutler instead focuses on maximizing every rep he performs.

“I get a good stretch at the bottom, I get a good contraction in the middle, and then I really peak at the top,” he said of his calf raise technique.

For Cutler, this is the winning formula: “Stay with it […] It just takes time, but you, too, could have championship calves.”

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Featured Image: Morten Skovgaard, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

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