Samson Dauda captured his first professional title at the 2023 Arnold Classic in March. Now he’s able to solely focus on the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest, taking place in Orlando, FL on the weekend of Nov. 2-5, 2023. He will already be one of the biggest men, both in height and weight, when he steps on stage with the rest of the field, but he is focusing on getting even bigger and wider. To that end, Dauda showcased his hard work in a recent workout that blasted his shoulders and calves, which he shared on his YouTube channel.

Calves & shoulders workout | Samson Dauda

Calf Presses and Donkey Calf Raises

He performed this workout at CHF Gym in Braintree, UK, and he began with calves by performing calf raises on a leg press, followed by donkey calf raises in superset fashion — an intensity technique Dauda used throughout the training session. He commented about trying to keep a soft bend in his knees on the leg press to emphasize the soleus muscle of the calves. Dauda explained that the donkey calf raise, an Arnold Schwarzenegger favorite, targeted the gastrocnemius. The exact reps or weight weren’t shared, but he performed three supersets on camera before moving on.

How to Do the Calf Press: Sit on a leg press machine with the heels of your feet hanging slightly off the bottom of the sled. Your toes should be securely set on the sled plate. Once the weight is released from the safety pins, keep a soft bend in your knees. Use only your toes and flex your calves to move the weight. Once your calves are fully flexed, slowly lower the sled plate until you feel a stretch in your calves — your heels should be “forward” farther than your toes. Press again to perform the next rep and repeat.

How to Do the Donkey Calf Raise: Bend your upper body forward with your hips at a roughly 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight and set your calves hanging off of secure a platform. Have someone sitting on your lower back when you prepare to start the movement or you can hang weight from a dip belt attached to your waist. Flex your calves and lift your heels up so your hips drive toward the ceiling. Once your calves are fully flexed, slowly return to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.

Seated Machine Shoulder Press and Seated Lateral Raise

The opening superset of his shoulder training featured seated machine shoulder presses followed by seated lateral raises with dumbbells. The first movement focused on the anterior (front) deltoid head while the latter movement isolated the middle head of the shoulder area. Dauda said he wanted to focus on quality contractions, which is why performed each repetition relatively slowly and with calculated movement. Dauda was shown working up to 110 kilograms (242 pounds) for 12 repetitions on the press before concluding with 11 repetitions using an undisclosed weight for his final sets of lateral raises.

How to Do the Seated Machine Shoulder Press: Sit on the machine and grab the handles with your palms facing forward. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your back straight, supported against the pad. Press the handles up until your arms are straight overhead. Lower them back down slowly, but don’t let the handles reach the very bottom position. Your elbows should be slightly below shoulder-level at the bottom. Repeat for the desired reps.

How to Do the Seated Lateral Raise: Sit on the edge of a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand — allow your arms to hang down at your sides with palms facing each other. Keep a slight bend at the elbow as you lift the dumbbells out to your sides until your elbows are at shoulder-height. Pause briefly before lowering the weights back to the starting position. Pause briefly at the bottom before performing the next rep.

Reverse Cable Flye

Following that superset, Dauda moved on to target his rear deltoids with rear delt cable flyes at a dual cable station. The cables allowed him to maintain tension throughout the entire range of motion. He extended that range of motion by holding onto the cables themselves instead of a handle attachment. 

How to Do the Reverse Cable Flye: Stand in between two cable pulleys set higher than eye-level. Grab one pulley on each side with the opposite hand so they can cross in front of your body — take the left cable in your right hand and the right cable in your left hand. Step back so your arms can be straight while the pinned weight doesn’t touch the rest of the stack. This is the starting position. Pull the cables back while keeping your arms straight to contract your rear delts. Once you’ve pulled back as far as you can, slowly release the tension and return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps.

Standing Machine Shoulder Press and Single Arm Cable Lateral Raise

“The Nigerian Lion” then performed a second overhead pressing movement but, unconventionally, he used a squat machine to provide resistance. Pressing it forward at an angle worked the front delts in a similar manner to a landmine press. This was paired up with another lateral raise variation — single-arm cable lateral raises, which provided one last source of focused stimulation for the side delts. On his final set of single-arm cable laterals, Dauda was shown using three weight plates for 11 repetitions, per arm, after pressing 150 kilograms (330 pounds) for 13 reps.

How to Do the Standing Machine Shoulder Press: Stand in front of a squat machine and place your hands on the pads that would rest on your shoulders. Lift the machine up to release the safety handle and take control of the weight. Using the force in your shoulders, press the machine up and forward as far as you can. Resist the urge to use leg drive to build momentum. Once your arms are straight, pause briefly before lowering the machine back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps. If you have a tall Smith machine or a specific standing shoulder press machine, you can perform a similar exercise by following the instructions as they are described on the machine.

How to Do the Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise: Stand beside a cable station with a low pulley and a single handle attachment connected to the cable. Grab the cable attachment with your opposite hand — if the cable is to your right, grab it with your left hand and vice versa. Begin with the cable in front of your body with your arm in front of your hip. Using the strength in your shoulder, lift the handle up toward the working (farthest from the cable pulley). Once the handle is just above shoulder-height, pause briefly before lowering back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps, then switch sides to work the opposite shoulder in the same form.

Samson-Sized Shoulder and Calf Workout

If you want to try a workout like this for yourself, you can follow the sample routine below.

  • Superset: Calf Press and Donkey Calf Raise — 3 x 15 per exercise
  • Superset: Seated Machine Press and Seated Lateral Raise — 3 x 10-12 per exercise
  • Reverse Cable Flye — 3 x 12
  • Superset Standing Machine Press and Single-Arm Cable Lateral Raise — 3 x 15 per exercise

Dauda finished the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest in sixth place. The five men that placed ahead of him are defending titleholder Hadi Choopan, runner-up Derek Lunsford, Nick Walker (3rd), 2019 champion Brandon Curry (4th), and 2020-2021 winner Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay (5th). Dauda defeated both Walker and Elssbiay when they shared the stage at the 2023 Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH. All six of those men are among the elite bodybuilders qualified to compete in the Olympia in November.

Featured Image: SAMSON DAUDA on YouTube