T Nation

Calves and Powerlifting


Is there any sense in which calves are important for the big three lifts? Do you train calves? Any particular way that's more applicable for strength?


I read somewhere that thick muscular calves reduces knee injury, i don't know why but they do. personally my calves are lagging behind all my bodyparts so i'm trying to get them up with a specialization program but sometimes i miss to train them because i'm drained after my squat or bench work.

so i think it could help a little but it's not a primary concern.


i would think that just by doing heavy deads/squats your calves are going to get bigger and stronger since they are the base of your lifts in a way, but i have always done extra calve work...they are just bad ass looking when you have big beefy calves, IMO...and i guess why wouldnt you take an extra 10 minutes to just do some anyway??



The gastrocnemius (visible part of calf) crosses the knee joint and is a weak knee flexor with some rotational ability as well, so it contributes alot to stability during squats and deads. Weakness could cause injury. Plus, if the calves are bigger, you can have a leverage advantage with knee wraps. Obviously, it also impacts stability and strength at the ankle as well. Someone mentioned it is sort of a base to lift from. I agree. Its similar to why you want a big back for bench in this respect. A few sets a week won't hurt and may help if you have an imbalance. Plyos are a great two-for-one here since they hit the hips/thighs and calves.


You would think so! The calves are connected to the muscles above the knee, so you would expect them to grow a little as your thighs grow...

But I also do extra calf work because they're really skinny despite all the squats and deads.