7 Part MUTANT Mark Sandor Workout Series: Standing Calf Raise Machine

leg day

MUTANT athlete Mark Sandor walks us through part I of his tortuous leg workout. 

If you want serious results in the gym, you must focus on your lower body! It’s a crucial part of your overall physique, despite many lifters forgoing the dreaded leg day. Top bodybuilders spend hours working on their legs to build strength and definition. MUTANT athlete Mark Sandor takes us through the first part of his grueling leg workout and gives valuable tips to get the legs to grow. Watch below:

@mutantnation Because who doesn’t love feeling like they got hit by a truck after a leg workout? ???????? #legday #trainintips #Workoutset #fullworkout ♬ original sound – MUTANT Nation – Supplements ☣️

The five major muscles that make up your leg are the hamstrings, quads, shins, adductors, and calves. Building your leg includes doing either isolation exercises that target one of these muscles, like calf raises, or compound exercises that target multiple at once, like the leg press. Many leg exercises also work on your core.

MUTANT’s been sharing helpful bodybuilding tips lately. They’re all part of a 7-Part MUTANT series of workouts we’ve closely followed. You can check out MUTANT’s advice on how to build strong biceps, sculpt your V-taper and boost triceps growth.

This most recent installment looks at one of MUTANT athletes’ leg workouts. Here, they show us some great exercises, such as the standing calf raise machine, that you can use to build an enviable lower body. 

MUTANT Mark Sandor Leg Workout Part I

Below is a list of MUTANT’s leg exercises, what muscles they work on, and tips on how to do them for the best leg gains. 

Exercises Sets Reps
Leg Press 3 8-10
Dumbbell Walking Lunges 3 20
Quad Extension Machine 3 12-15
Romanian Deadlift with Machine 3 10-12
Hip Adductions 3 10-12
Standing Calf Raises 6 8-12

Leg Press 

Leg presses are part of what we collectively call triple-extension exercises. Triple-extension exercises involve the use of your knees, ankles, and hips. Leg presses work on all the muscles of your legs.

You use a leg press machine and sit with your back against a backrest to do a leg press. Since your back gets support with this routine, you can entirely focus on your legs. You also don’t need a spotter and can change the muscles you work on by changing the position of your legs.

Mark Sandor says, “We’ll do three sets of eight to ten reps, and we’re gonna be drop setting that last set to failure.”

Dumbbell Walking Lunges

Dumbbell walking lunges strengthen your leg muscles, hips, glutes, and core. This variation of the regular static lunge requires more balance and can help improve your range of motion. It’s also a functional exercise that makes everyday activities like walking forward to pick something up easier. 

To do a dumbbell walking lunge, you hold the dumbbells in both hands and do a lunge while walking. Ensure that your body stays upright throughout the movement. Don’t lunge too far out; overextending them could lead to your back arching and poor form. The MUTANT athlete did three dumbbell walking lunges, taking 20 steps each. 

These absolutely fry my legs; I couldn’t even get back up after that rep. So I had to take a second, but I still finished off the set. Make sure you don’t quit, guys.”

Quad Extension with Machine

Doing leg extensions with a lever machine isolates your quads, hence the name quad extension. Building your quads helps to improve your squats and protects your knees. However, you must be careful when doing quad extensions to avoid injuring your knees.

Doing quad extensions with a machine also helps to improve your posture. To do this exercise, sit on a machine and have a weighted pad on your lower legs. Then use your quads to extend your knees and lift your legs. 

The MUTANT athlete does three sets of about 12-15 reps for quad extensions. He finishes it with a double drop set until failure as the final set. 

Romanian Deadlift with Machine

Deadlifts leg workoutRomanian deadlifts are hip hinge movements that help to strengthen your core and lower body. It works on your glutes, adductors, hamstrings, and erector spinae. You can perform this exercise with a dumbbell or a shrug machine.

Romanian deadlifts are compound exercises that work on multiple muscles at once. They differ from traditional deadlifts, which require more range of motion (ROM). Romanian deadlifts shortened ROM keeps more engagement in the glutes and hamstrings. While doing Romanian deadlifts, you lock your knees at about 15 degrees and only bend with your hip. 

“If you have this machine, I highly recommend doing cardio on it cause it feels amazing.”

Hip Adductions

Seated hip adductions are an excellent isolation exercise that builds your hip adductor muscles. They help to provide balance and support the proper alignment of your hips. These exercises boost hip extension, crucial in compound exercises like deadlifts and squats. 

Seated hip adductors help to strengthen your inner thighs and reduce your risk of a groin injury. You do it by sitting with your back against a backrest and setting the knee pads to a width that gives your groin a good stretch. Then squeeze your thighs together until the knees meet in the middle. 

Standing Calf Raise Machine 

The standing calf raise machine activates your gastrocnemius and soleus — two muscles running down your calves. You use these muscles for running, jumping, and even reaching for things on a shelf above. So strengthening them is beneficial for your day-to-day activities. 

When doing calf raises, modifying your foot position changes the muscles worked (1). For example, inward toes work your inner calf muscles more, while outward-facing toes focus more on your outer calf. Therefore, you can exercise inward and outward-facing positions to perform all sides effectively.

“We’re going to be finishing off with some standing calf raises, pointing our toes inwards, outwards, and forwards,” says Mark Sandor.

Doing calf raises on a step increases your range of motion and allows your heels to drop further, contracting the calve muscles more. Finally, the MUTANT athlete rounds off his brutal leg workout with six sets of about 8-12 reps with his legs elevated.  

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  1. Nunes, J. P., Costa, B. D. V., Kassiano, W., Kunevaliki, G., Castro-E-Souza, P., Rodacki, A. L. F., Fortes, L. S., & Cyrino, E. S. (2020). Different Foot Positioning During Calf Training to Induce Portion-Specific Gastrocnemius Muscle Hypertrophy. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 34(8), 2347–2351. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003674
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.