So here we have a topic that is near and dear to me – calf size, or lack of I should say! With my return to amateur bodybuilding just weeks away, I’ve been doing all I can to ‘bring up’ my calves. But is this hopeless?

Is calf size really all genetics?

In short I believe the answer to be an absolute YES! But here’s the thing – all of your muscles shapes, sizes and lengths and due to your genetics. The issue with calves and why they’re so noticeable is that they’re kind of hanging out all by themselves for everyone to see. If you have lackluster biceps, triceps or even shoulders, there are other muscle groups around to help contribute to the overall look. But the exact opposite is true in the case of calves – the bigger your quads and hamstrings, the smaller your calves appear!

Now without a doubt many trainees skip out on proper leg training. As such we see many guys that we call ‘scissors’ or say have stick legs. But I’m here to tell you that for over 20 years I’ve literally killed myself trying to get my calves to grow. I’ve tried high reps, low reps, high volume, one legged, every position imaginable and while they have improved, they definitely have not responded or grown the way the rest of my body has. And yet we see people walking around, some who don’t even exercise, with monster lower legs and calf development! I know you’ve seen them too.

So why are calves so resistant to growth? Some speculate that due to the amount of work they do, it’s extremely hard to stimulate growth.  Don’t forget you’ve been walking on them since you were about a year old, so clearly they have a high level of endurance. And we already know that endurance muscle fibers don’t have the same propensity for growth as explosive ones. Others say that the fascia surrounding the calf muscle is tight and somewhat binds or prevents the calf from growing. I’ve even seen some surgeries where they actually cut the fascia to release it and give some room for the calf to grow. That sounds a bit extreme to me. And in case you didn’t know, there are calf implants for those who really want muscular lower legs, although from what I’ve seen the risk, pain and outcome hardly seems worth it.


It’s funny – we always want what we don’t have. In my case I’ve dreamed of having huge calves since I was a teenager. And when I look in the mirror it’s the first thing I see. Guess what? It’s never going to happen, I know that. My lower legs are lean, muscular and I’m happy with them now. My genes are what they are and I’ve done all I can to improve how I look. I’m at peace with me, and my body, although it did take 20 years. The most ironic thing is all of the people, especially women, who have great calves who say they can’t stand them and wish they were smaller! At the end of the day, you can always improve your musculature in any muscle group, even calves. But if you weren’t born with big calves, I don’t think they’ll ever be cows!

How about you? Do you have big calves? Have they grown from exercise?


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