The Siff Squat

We have a confession to make: We haven’t given you any calf-training tips in a while. But we feel OK about it, since we’re sure you haven’t done any calf training for even longer. Regardless, it’s time we both made amends-with the Siff squat. Named after the late, great exercise physiologist Mel Siff, this exercise gives your calves the attention they need to grow while building nearly every other muscle group as well.


Perform the Siff squat at the beginning of your workout. Set up as you would for a normal squat, with the bar resting on your trapezius, between your shoulders. (Use a lighter weight than normal, about 85% of what you’d use for regular squats.) Now raise your heels so that you’re standing on the balls of your feet [1]. Perform a squat, keeping your heels elevated for the entire move [2]. That’s one rep. Do two to three sets of eight to 10 reps, resting two minutes between sets.


In addition to all the hormone-releasing, total-body building effects of the classic squat, the Siff variation forces your calves to support a heavier load than normal, introducing them to a dramatic new stimulus for growth. Raising your heels also pushes your center of gravity forward, engaging your quads more-which is useful if they’re lagging as well. Now you’ve got a workout that targets all your weak points-if you can admit to having them, that is.

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