Supposedly in the early days of his body building career, Arnold Schwarzenegger absolutely hated his skinny calves. So much so, that he forced himself to perform grueling calf training 6 days per week until they burst out of his jeans like coiled pythons.
Now, you don’t have to be as extreme as a certain Austrian bodybuilder- turned movie star- turned politician, but your Calf muscles are an extremely important part of your lower body’s physiology.
Being that we spend large parts of our day getting up, standing, and walking, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that it’s your calves that are doing much of the heavy lifting throughout these movements.
And although our calves may not look as thick or powerful as some other parts of our bodies, they are in fact incredibly strong as they propel our entire bodyweight from point A to B as we go about our day. For this reason, since our calves are always getting such a good workout, they often tend to look weak or skinny.
Aesthetics aside, it's important not to neglect exercises that work the calves. Try to incorporate at least 1-2 exercises throughout your weekly training regime. Properly conditioned calves will aid your running speed, jumping power, and ability to rapidly change direction. Therefore, strong calves have multiple applications for both team and solo sports.
Since they are connected to your feet and the backs of your knees, well-developed calves are also critical to preventing injury in the lower part of your legs. The risk of sprained ankles, plantar fasciitis, and tendinopathy of the knee can all be warded-off by proper conditioning of your Calf muscles.
Some great exercises to incorporate into your arsenal are the Box Jump and the Farmers Walk. Perform these for multiple sets until your Calves feel… Terminated.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.