T Nation

Muscle Reduction - Calves


Hi All

I recently had my first personal training session on Sunday and told the trainer that I wanted to slim down my calves by losing fat on them..

After examining them she said that I had very little fat on my calves and a hell of a lot of muscle, she said she was very impressed but I was not!

She said the only way to slim them down would be doing some muscle reduction but I have never heard of this before! how can you reduce muscle in your calves??!? She didn't explain what techniques she was going to use in the session but I am pretty sceptical...any ideas ladies?


Chop it off?


The only theory I can even imagine was something I heard of many years ago. Fitness Champ Mia Finnegan wrote about how she intentionally over-trained her legs in order to lose some size in them. I suppose in theory it could happen, but on the other hand, you could end up further tapping into your calves' natural tendency to be bulky, and add even more size.

My best suggestion would be to just try to lose weight at a normal pace, and hopefully everything, including your calves will come into a better sense of balance.



Maybe build your upper legs. Nothing looks better then nice curvy legs!


Thank you for your response guys! even at my slimmest, my body was quite lean but my calves were definitely big and muscular!

Just got to live with them I suppose!


I would be too scared they would get even bigger!! eek!


Hi Noreen.

I think that's it really.

I have big muscled calves too and it doesn't matter if I focus on them or ignore them. Weight-loss never made a difference for them either.

It does make boot buying very frustrating though. :-/


Hi Hun

I have quite a concentrated lump of muscle right at the top and the bottom half is quite slim, i've been speaking to a few people who've advised me that I need to stretch the muscle so it's not so contracted, so elongate the muscle so it looks less bulky! guess this in the pilates sphere although i do hate the idea of those classes!

I can find boots luckily but some look awful! I hate wearing leggings without my long boots as my calves look so muscular and unfeminine!

lets just be positive though! we have strong legs :stuck_out_tongue: hehe smile :slightly_smiling:


I doubt most women unless they were once very very overweight for long enough that the calves grew as a response; would ever actually have a need to reduce calf muscle. Once the fat and water retention are lowered, I think you will find that while it will still be the same amount of physical tissue most of what appears to be muscle will shrink noticeably.

Keep in mind men do not want stick legs and most of what we see in the media is not accurate.

But to the best of my knowledge.

If you are unable to reduce the muscle by the normal methods, overworking during dieting or catabolic state (running fasted) then the next simple option is to lose total body weight: the best way to build and maintain calf muscle is to apply constant moderate volume to it.

You can see a majority of calf hypertrophy from simple loading from everyday walking activities. This makes body weight the primary factor in how much stimulus will be applied per repetition.

I see more calf hypertrophy from supporting increased body weight+high daily activity, than any specific gym exercise.


Thanks for your response!

the trainer who examined my legs said that I had a lot of contracted muscle and very little body fat on my calves but I did tell her that on previous diets in the past I've lost about half an inch on them but that's all it'll go - and they still look big! I'm guessing the half inch is the water/fat you mention

I don't do specific calf muscles exercises, but I exercise a lot and I walk every where - I don't drive ever so a lot of indirect work going on.

I don't think I'll ever be stick thin nor do I want to be, I quite like my curves! but I would like to make my calves look more balanced, there is definitely a big lump of muscle there which needs to be lengthened and it has to some extent got to do with genetics, all my siblings have the same muscly calves! lol



Sorry you also mention the normal methods one of which was over working during dieting..what do you mean by over working? and what kind of exercises?


This could have been a post of mine several years ago! I've always had disproportionately large calves (cannot wear skinny jeans, and only wear skirts/shorts when my body fat is super low) relative to my figure. Here is my personal advice:

  1. I'm assuming you know that spot reduction is largely a myth, so for the love of God, don't do calf lifts!

  2. Overall body fat reduction, while simultaneously over developing your quads may help even out the appearance.

  3. Surgery. I consulted with a plastic surgeon in 2009 about my calves (I have a serious complex). While there is generally not enough body fat to do lipo, you can have muscle shaved off your calves. But, the surgeon said although he had done it twice before, he said the patients recovery was long and excruciatingly painful. You pretty much cannot walk for a while, let alone workout. I do not suggest a surgical option.

Good luck!


I think muscular legs on girls is awesome. I find it very attractive...
Muscle shaving surgery?! Sounds crazy.


Thank you Amber Ren! and yes I know spot training doesn't work! for this reason I have never done any direct calf work! I've never really thought about getting surgery done and think I would rather live with big calves then go under the knife! I just think there are other positive things about my appearance I do like so just focus on that, I can't have it all! My upper legs are quite muscular too (lol!) but not disproportionately so, I rather like it because it's muscly but slender - just need to get rid of the fat on the inner thighs :stuck_out_tongue:

Bassist I guess you just prove that beauty is in the eye of the beholder :stuck_out_tongue: I think muscular legs are cool but as long as they are slender! :stuck_out_tongue:


I dated a girl last year whose legs were VERY well developed. I mean they intimidated other guys. Big quads, big hamstrings, and very lean. She wasn't a big girl at all. Short, petite, but with beautiful legs. I absolutely loved it. She was surprised because many guys aren't into that like I am apparently.


Hehe! that's good stuff! I'm guessing she was comfortable with her legs because if it was that developed I'm assuming she trained to get them to that level??

I wouldn't say I was very muscly at all - I can see that I have a good level of muscle in my legs but I wouldn't say they were very lean. It's what I'm working on now, I have lost 18 lbs (or 8.16kg! a lot of Americans work in KG right?) in 2 months which is quite steady. I would definitely say I was soft (my word for a bit chubby hahah)

P.s. she sounded perfect for you :stuck_out_tongue: why did you stop dating!


Well she always thought that she put on muscle very easily. She never tried to have really muscular legs, it just kind of happened. Real big biceps, well developed back, shoulders and abs. She worked her as off in the gym but not necessarily to pack on muscle. Her genetics just allowed that to happen. Because of this she was almost embarassed of it. But again, I was a huge fan. I think muscle on a girl is sexy.

If it means anything to you she spent a GREAT amount of time on the stair master. Her diet was also very in check.

And we stopped dating because I'm an idiot...I miss her.


Yeah some people put on muscle easily because of their genetics! she sounds like she was a very strong girl! don't think I could actually be as muscular as that as I don't have the same level of dedication...

Stair master really kicks my calves into gear so I tend to steer clear of it! I am doing a lot of circuit training, boxing classes and personal training sessions to burn fat, then I am planning on doing more resistance training..

We all human and we all make mistakes so don't be so hard on yourself. I wouldn't dwell to much on your past and let your present pass you by, i'm sure you'll find a fine ass chick soon enough :stuck_out_tongue:


I'm not dwelling...just would like to meet another girl with muscle like that!


post a pic to see what we are exactly dealing with