T Nation

A Question of Calves

I live in an appartment with five guys, three of them run cross country. All three of these gentlemen are competetive college level CC runners and are built accordingly (5’10 140-150is, very little BF). Other than making me feel unusually large, I have noticed one thing about all three of their physiques, they have unusually large calf muscles.

Now, I am aware that many feel calves are a genetic “gift” so to speak. I have also heard that running long distances shrinks leg muscles. Accordingly, I am confused as to why these three gentlemen would have such well developed calves? Does running build calves but shrink quads/glutes?

Does anyone have some insight on this?

[quote]jedidiah wrote:
I live in an appartment with five guys, three of them run cross country. All three of these gentlemen are competetive college level CC runners and are built accordingly (5’10 140-150is, very little BF). Other than making me feel unusually large, I have noticed one thing about all three of their physiques, they have unusually large calf muscles.

Now, I am aware that many feel calves are a genetic “gift” so to speak. I have also heard that running long distances shrinks leg muscles. Accordingly, I am confused as to why these three gentlemen would have such well developed calves? Does running build calves but shrink quads/glutes?

Does anyone have some insight on this?[/quote]

Most college distance guys I knew were all midfoot to toe strikers. Try running 90 miles a week on your toes…also most ballet women have huge calves for their size. Lots of volume on their toes.

Back when I was into the whole distance running thing(6 miles a day, 7 days a week) and was a twig(6’1", 145lbs), the only place on my body that was even noticable in terms of muscle were my calves. They also happened to be the only muscle I could really flex and notice it. I’m not sure how so much volume could equate to large calves(15 inches at 145lbs ) but it seemed to. It’s like how mechanics who use wrenches day in and day out tend to have large forearms.

Most of the guys I know that run all the time have large calves. Myself, my calves grew pretty large when was hiking up mountains regularly.

I used to be pretty fat compared to now, but I used to ride bmx everyday, and my calves were HUGE and they had NO FAT whatsoever, as well as my thighs. I rode a lot uphill and also could run long distances with no trouble despite having pretty high bf % compared to now.

When I started running long-distance my calves actually got smaller but I was trying to cut and ran at the same time, so my fault. I think it has to do with genetics, but just work them out everyday, one day heavy as hell with as high amount of reps as you can go the next day light with high reps as well and if they were meant to grow they will, of course u have to be eating enough.

Try riding a bike uphill, or the training bikes on the hardest difficulty you can manage for 10-15 minutes until your legs are rubber once a week as well, worked for me.

Calves are largely genetic. Mine were small up until a couple of years ago when I quit bitching about them and started training every single day. They look decent now even though I am still shooting for more. Also, on a small guy, ANY muscle at all is going to stand out. Unless these guys’ calves are measuring over 18-19", they really aren’t all that big except compared to the rest of them.

Most bodybuilders wouldn’t recommend long term non-stop cardio for decen leg growth. It is commonly known that it works against that in most people. If these guys are genetically gifted in that one area enough, their calves will still look decent in spite of all of that running. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be much bigger if they focused more on short term movements.

Someone who is only 140lbs could have 15-16" calves and they would look huge on them. They would look small on someone weighing over 230lbs. It is all relative. Definition also makes muscle groups appear larger simply because you can see the muscle clearer.