Delts likes to get pretty bulked up. Like a bodybuilder, which could describe him, Delts wants to have balanced size across all his body parts. Many very strong people find that their calf muscles lag somewhat, and Delts is like that, so he asked me if I had any ideas for him. He’d been using the calf machine in the gym, but found that it didn’t really do much. This wasn’t overly surprising – its motion doesn’t particularly match an athletic move or natural movement pattern, which is typical of many older machines.
Donkey Calf Raise
“Ah”, I said, “I have just the thing!” Delts never misses a chance to chat up the ladies, and sometimes this increases his time in the gym significantly. I had thought of an old-school move that would not only be effective, but would appeal to his other sensibilities. “Here’s what you do – stand next to a bench. Bend down and put both your hands on the bench, so you’re bending at about 90 degrees at the waist. Then have someone get up and sit on your lower back. Then you raise up on your toes, which hits your calves hard. Hold for a beat at the top, lower, and repeat. Super simple. All that’s left is to find somebody to sit on you. Not me, but someone like… Monica!” I said, as she happened to be walking our way. She was very fit and petite, with a head of lovely dark curls, and was a friendly regular at the gym.
“I heard my name,” she said, smiling with some curiosity. We greeted her, and Delts quickly gave an animated description of what I had just told him, asking her if she would join in. She frowned skeptically at first, but then brightened, knowing that we were basically harmless, and said, “That sounds weird, but I’m not anxious to do my squats just yet, so OK, I’ll do it.”
Delts put his hands on the bench and bent his knees a bit. Monica got behind him, put her hands on his back, and vaulted up gracefully as if mounting a horse. Delts didn’t flinch (or whinny), as he outweighs her by over a hundred pounds. He did a few raises without difficulty. Like many exercises I enjoy, this one was quite unlike what anyone else in the gym was doing, and soon everyone nearby was staring. Monica was playing it up, grinning and raising her arms as if she were the Queen.
I knew that raising Monica would be pretty easy for Delts. Pairs of huge bodybuilders used to do this move, and lifting a heavier person would certainly hit the calves harder and potentially cause more muscle growth. But I wasn’t about to spoil Delts’ fun – he was on a roll and very much enjoying Monica’s participation.
I instantly had another idea. I told them about a local carnival coming up, and that they could enter the tag-team race and win some money. Monica, though clearly amused by what was going on right now, did not warm to this idea. “Are you kidding me? The gym is one thing, but in public?” She squinched up her face and let out a sharp breath.
Delts finished lifting, and gently set her down. He said, “come on, it’ll be fun, and I’ll be doing all the work!” Then he gave her the patented Delts “aw, shucks” smile, his head turned slightly to the side as his eyes asked the question. She looked at him and slowly shook her head, but I could see that she was wavering. I still don’t quite know how he does it, and he can’t quite explain it himself. It’s an eerie natural charm offensive that he turns on at will, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s good-looking. If I tried to do the same thing, I’d feel like a dork.
Suddenly Monica got a twinkle in her eye. “OK, I’ll do it, but under certain conditions. Number one, you have to take me to dinner. Number two, you have to wear either a tux or a chicken suit.” Her imagination can be quite impressive.
Now Delts was doing the squinching. These items were not typical of his wardrobe. Remembering something, he said, “Oh yeah, I have a tux that I wore awhile ago, and I’ll see if it still fits.” His size does fluctuate often, as he alternates between packing on muscle or going on some fad diet.
Initial Public Offering
On race day, Delts was sporting his tux, which was indeed a little tight. For the occasion, Monica didn’t exactly go formal, as a long skirt would have made “riding” impossible, but she was definitely in the festive spirit with her sequined top and designer shorts. They stood out like crazy, as everyone else in the race was decked out in nothing fancier than gym clothes and sweats. An official signaled the start of the race. Delts and Monica quickly began to move away from the pack. Apart from his brute strength, their big weight difference was key. Other competitive pairs were often the same size, struggling to move at all, and some fell down laughing. Our pair’s only tricky moment was that Delts was moving so fast that Monica nearly fell off. It was a formal wear triumph, the crowd laughed and cheered, and they won easily. They ended up donating their prize to charity.
The next day Delts’ calves felt like they were on fire, and he good-naturedly berated me for making him do it. He added, “Thanks, man, now where should I take her out?” I told him about several places that I thought she’d like, taking care to choose ones that didn’t have a lot of stairs.
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