Calf Development for Rookies

If you ask any bodybuilder what they feel the most neglected muscle group is, they would probably answer the calves muscle. The calves are the muscles between your knee caps and ankle, and are one of the toughest muscle groups to develop if one does not know how to train them correctly. This article is a basic introduction to the calves muscles. Here you will learn the anatomy, exercises, and useful tips to use when creating your own workout. defines the calves as the fleshly, muscular back part of the human leg between the knee and ankle, formed chiefly by the belles of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. To understand the primary functions of the calves muscles, a lesson in anatomy is needed. The following list states the functions of the muscles located near the calves muscle.

Posterior tibialis– flexion of the ankle; inversion of the foot.
Gastrocnemius– flexion of the ankle.
Soleus– flexion of the ankle.
Peroneus longus– flexion of the ankle; eversion of the foot.
Peroneus Brevis– flexion of the ankle; eversion of the foot.
Anterior tibialis– flexion of the ankle; inversion of the foot.

Calf size is mostly genetic but you can still build decent-sized calves if you are willing to work on them. There could be other factors that are the cause of small calves such as training them improperly. Do you understand which exercises stimulate the correct muscle fibers? Chances are good that you are unaware of how to train the slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers of the calves or you don`t know which exercises target the gastrocnemius or the posterior tibialis. Your weak calves could also be from inflexibility, not going through the full range of motion, not enough variation of the exercise, and training them on a wrong day. Make certain you keep these factors in mind when adding calves to your workout schedule.

Now that you know what to do during your calf workout, it is important that you pick the right exercises to make your calves worthy of attention. The following list can be considered a menu. Pick a couple of the exercises, try them, and see which ones work best for you.


  • Calf Press On The Leg Press Machine
  • Seated Calf Raise
  • Standing Calf Raises


  • Ankle Circles
  • Knee Circles


  • Barbell Seated Calf Raise
  • Rocking Standing Calf Raise
  • Standing Barbell Calf Raise


  • Calf Raise On A Dumbbell
  • Dumbbell Seated One-Leg Calf Raise
  • Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise

Now don`t get discouraged if you don`t see results right away. Building great calves takes years of hard work but is worth every minute of the struggle. Some people are born lucky and look like a bodybuilder even if they have never weight lifted a day in their life. It`s the journey that counts, which is why bodybuilding is the greatest sport in the world. Until next time, later.

Zach Bashore
April 18, 2006

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