You might already be familiar with Strength Shoes if you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode “The Jimmy” where Kramer wears a pair of them throughout that episode. Many of us probably thought that these were a gag created just for the show but these silly looking shoes are in fact a real thing. They we initially created well over 30 years ago to help enhance athletic performance namely to help improve your vertical leap.
If you are not familiar with these kicks they are built with special platforms attached to the sole (kind of like half a moon shoe) that keeps your heels off the ground while running, jumping and walking. In typical shoes, 70% of the body’s weight rests on the heel but with these bad boys since the heel is eliminated the calves are forced to support 100% of the body’s weight with it now being placed on the forefoot. This overload is touted to work the calves and Achilles tendons 6 times more than with standard sneakers thus helping to make an athlete more explosive. It does this not only by increasing muscular strength but also by improving the muscle contraction experienced at the force of impact when the heel dips in response to the stretch reflex.
Beyond increasing athletic performance some inventive bodybuilders have adapted the Strength Shoes to enhance building up their lower legs. But be careful though since you can not just wear these all day long all of a sudden and train them with high intensity. You must gradually work up to wearing them for a certain amount of time each day with a simple progression plan in place to constantly challenge your calves like any other muscle group in the gym. An example could be to wear them for only 5 minutes a day at first and add a minute or so every other day till you can wear then for up to a half hour. At which point you can add weight by either holding a dumbbell, wearing a weighted vest or using a back pack with weights in it to make it continuously harder. See the sample routine below.
Sample Strength Shoe Calf Building Routine
- Week 1 – 5 minutes
- Week 2 – 10 minutes
- Week 3 – 15 minutes
- Week 4 – 20 minutes
- Week 5 – 25 minutes
- Week 6 – 30 minutes
- Week 7 – 15-30 minutes (with 5 lbs)
- Week 8 – 15-30 minutes (with 10 lbs)
- Week 9 – 15-30 minutes (with 15 lbs)
- Week 10 – 15-30 minutes (with 20 lbs)
- Week 11 – 15-30 minutes (no weight)
- Week 12 – 15-30 minutes (with 25 lbs)
- Week 13 – 15-30 minutes (with 30 lbs)
- Week 14 – 15-30 minutes (with 35 lbs)
- Week 15 – 15-30 minutes (with 40 lbs)
After 15 weeks on this program your calves should be a distant memory of what they once were. I myself have easily added an inch or 2 while following a program like this. Just don’t be in a rush to add weight or time as well as try push yourself to the limit each day as that can burn you out. Let the progression take care of the overload on the muscle. Good Luck!
So has anyone had any experience in building up their calves with these strength shoes? If so what kind of results did you experience with them? Comment below we would love to hear your story.