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Donkey Calf Raises

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by Yinzer00, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. 1FastGTX

    1FastGTX Elite Member
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    Zen: what are your thoughts on placement of the "free" leg? I'm doing the bent-over, donkey-raise-with-weight-belt, on my left foot, where to place the right foot?

    Behind the left foot?

    Just straight up and down?

    Any opinion on this?

    Thanks again!
     
  2. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    OK I didn't do single leg donkeys yet so it is just opinion, based on other single leg exercises I do all the time. My first guess would be with the free leg straight out in back in line with your back. Here's my thinking:

    When you do single leg deadlifts, there are two ideas. One is to have the free leg straight and in line with your back, so as you bend into the deadlift, it comes up. Lots of people recommend them that way. What you get is a reduction in the resistance because the back leg is like a counterweight, but you also get really good isolation of the two halves of the lower back. The other idea is to keep the free leg bent at the knee and slightly lifted at the thigh, and keep it still in the exercise, so that that hip flexes and extends, but doesn't contribute much at all to lifting the dumbells. This way, you get a lot more resistance on the down hamstring for the same weight of dumbells. I like this because I also do curl and press of the dumbells - which adds a balance challenge as well as making the weight go through a huge distance. So you pays your nickel and you takes your choice with the deadlifts - both ways can be what you want.

    There are two other somewhat unusual leg positions, one is with the free leg fully abducted (like a dog taking a leak) and the other is with the free leg fully adducted (so it actually crosses in front of or behind the down leg). These are mainly useful in making pistol squats a worse experience than they already are.

    With the calf raise, I don't really see that much in the way of assistance being a problem. So in this case my first guess would be to have the free leg straight back so it's out of the way if I was just doing the calf raises. But when adding other lifts to the calf raise then I would consider other leg positions.
     
  3. 1FastGTX

    1FastGTX Elite Member
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    Thanks for another great reply.

    I'll try the "straight out" first, then possibly some other positions. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Appreciate it!
     
  4. Matt-Wake

    Matt-Wake Active Member

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  5. phitness

    phitness Well-Known Member

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    The link you posted is broken, but I believe I've seen the pic you're talking about with Arnold riding Dave Draper at the Donkey Show :D

    In fact, I decided to search for it and it's here

    Oh - and I've never tried the donkey variety before, but I have done the standing ones single-legged and I just have the other leg straight down/back out of the way. I'll have to give the donkey raises a try using the standing machine as shown in the ExRx GIF someone linked in.
     
  6. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Actually, I can't be that. Ian King would be the king of the single leg idea, but I didn't think of that at the time.
     
  7. DLiquid

    DLiquid Active Member

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  8. reanimated838uk

    reanimated838uk Well-Known Member

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    Tried that today, but about 45 degree angle, and bleeming heck. Worked up a sweat that one. Will be using that in future, as a smith calf raise, and dumbell versions make me cramp up.
    One thing i can't understand about dip belts is how your meant to do lunges with them... they get in the way. Any ideas (as i can't hold onto heavier dbs long enough, and they tend to swing easily?
     
  9. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Go down to the local abandoned pier and do them karate kid style on a couple close driven pilings. If you don't have a pier, use the world's tallest Xerdiscs.

    Or, if you want to be more normal, (not that there is anything really wrong with being somewhat normal), try barbell lunges.
     
  10. reanimated838uk

    reanimated838uk Well-Known Member

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    Problem with barbell lunges is the safety issues... ie what happens when you tip over? or close to failure?.

    *my gym doesn't have a powerrack or decent squat rack
     
  11. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Well you don't tip over in lunges, you dump the bar first. But, that only works with some sort of safeties if you are lunging really heavy. The dip belt idea is not the answer.

    Lungeing over the barbell is probably what you are looking for. It's the lunge based cousin of the hack squat. Just lunge over the barbell, and bring it up with you. There is a closely related lift - the lunge deadlift - where you lunge over the bar, then bend down and grab it so you can deadlift it. Both are fine exercises. There are probably a lot of other straddle lifts, but since my old trainer Andre left to get his MBA I doubt I will be learning any new ones.

    One thing I have actually done - and it wasn't my idea for sure, but it works - is to hold the barbell at your side in one hand and lunge. Andre wanted to do this for a combination of reasons (Andre almost never did one thing at a time). You get a grip challenge, a very high resistance balance challenge, and some isometric shrug aspect, but the worst part is that in order to keep the barbell from touching the floor, you have to do them very slowly. Try this with an unloaded bar and before you add any plates. Better yet, be smart like Andre - get someone else to do them for you.

    But you did want more weight, so for that, I would modify the above really unpleasant exercise by adding the other bar to balance out. It will still be extremely tough to keep the barbells off the floor, but it will take some of the edge off your pelvis and torso side load to keep the balance. You can walk that lunge all over the place if you are interested in getting a product endorsement from Tylenol. With two straight bars you can load more weight than anyone in history has ever lunged, and no safety issue (unless you count mental health).
     
    #31 zenpharaohs, Jun 12, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2006
  12. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    {QUOTE}Problem with barbell lunges is the safety issues... ie what happens when you tip over? or close to failure?.

    *my gym doesn't have a powerrack or decent squat rack{QUOTE}

    There are a few solutions and alternatives:
    ~ Smith Machine Lunges. Reverse Smith Machine Lunges (hits the glutes hamstring tie-ins)
    ~ Smith Machine Split Squat
    ~ Barbell or Dumbell Split Squats
    ~ Bulgarian Squats in a Smith machine, or with dumbells. Barbell variety is more difficult but boy does it burn!
    ~ Reverse stationary BB or DB lunges

    Find the one which seems better suited for your balance and safety issues and work them progressively. I also favor walking DB lunges. In the summer, I used to do walking lunges at the beach in the sand. This would really add size and slice up my hammies and quads very nicely. A fellow competitor (and natural Pro) from Jamaica, does walking lunges in the ocean in water which is waist high. He never does squats but his legs are phenomenal. I may try doing these in the pool at the Y one of these days and see what happens. Sounds like fun! :nod:
     
  13. tennisball

    tennisball Well-Known Member

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    Don't work until failure. Failure does not equal strength gain or muscle growth. Obviously, it can, but non-failure is just as effective.

    And tipping over? Well, fall down. A plate in the side of the head will teach you to work harder the next time! Ha!



     
  14. reanimated838uk

    reanimated838uk Well-Known Member

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    :-) oh i realise failure isn't necessary, but without safety equipment involved its always hard to mentally and physically continue with extra reps/weights. And if for some reason you do go past this limitation, its possible you'll eventually hit failure. And it would be wiser to prepare for that.

    Thanks for the suggestions Zeph and Mastover. I'll look into incorporating them in future workouts :D
     
  15. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    If he has a problem with heavy barbell lunges, then it's sort of the same problem with barbell split squats, isn't it?

    Dumbells are a fine answer if he has dumbells heavy enough for what he needs.
     
  16. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    They could be zen....but not always. With the split squats you're in a stationary position. With the BB lunges you're taking forward or (if the case may be) reverse steps creating a more unstable, balance related atmosphere.
     
  17. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I was thinking of the case where you can't get up without dumping the bar. In that case, I really wouldn't want the back foot stuck up on the bench with no safety over it.

    Obviously, if he's got the dumbells this doesn't happen, or if the barbell is not above the legs.

    Worries like this are part of the reason that squatting is so popular.
     
  18. HevyMetal

    HevyMetal Well-Known Member

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    Ouch!!..that picture posted of the guy doing a donkey calf raise with the big plate dangling fron the chain around his waist hurts just to look at.

    Wouldn't he be better off with a wide leather belt connecting to the chain?

    I always do single-leg calf raises. Never do the 2-leg version.
     

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