Your calves are working hard to support the rest of your body, whether you’re running uphill or just standing motionless. In addition to this, they help you perform motions such as turning, jumping, and bending by stabilizing your ankles. Continue reading to learn more about what are the benefits of small calves as well as, what are the strategies for growing their sizes too.
However, expanding the size of the muscles in your calves can be a challenging endeavor. In point of fact, those who are knowledgeable in the field of fitness agree that the calves are the most difficult muscle area in the body to tone.
Your calf muscles get worked up every time you stand up or move around. But increasing the difficulty of the tasks they have to complete is essential if you want them to get bigger.
What Factors Contribute To The Development Of Small Calves?
It is believed that genetics play a role in the development of small calves. There could be additional elements at play here, such as age and total body mass. Let’s delve more into each of the potential causes, shall we?
Even though there isn’t any concrete proof to support this theory, the general consensus is that genetics are almost always the primary reason why calves are born undersized.
There have been numerous reports of persons having calves that are roughly the same size as those of their relatives. In addition, some people claim that their family have large calves despite the fact that they do not intentionally exercise their lower legs.
Age is also a relevant consideration. The amount of muscle mass you have often decreases as you get older.
This condition, which is medically referred to as sarcopenia, also affects the legs. According to research from a reliable source, adults over the age of 50 typically experience a loss of between one and two percent of their lean leg muscle mass on an annual basis.
Low Body Weight.
A low body weight could be another factor in the development of tiny calves. In general, the lower your weight, the less pressure your calves are required to bear.
However, if you have a higher body mass, your legs will have to support a greater amount of your weight. Even if you don’t engage in any calf strengthening exercises, this could result in your calves being larger.
The Pros Of Small Calves
In contrast to what is commonly believed, there may be opportunities for growth in smaller calves.
Better Distance Running.
According to the findings of certain studies, having leaner calves may make it easier to run for extended periods of time.
The body measurements of six of the world’s best distance runners were evaluated by researchers for a study that was conducted in 2008 and published in the Journal of Sports Science and MedicineReliable Source. They discovered that all of the runners had one thing in common: their calves were rather tiny.
The researchers hypothesized that there might be a connection between having a lower calf circumference and being more successful at running long distances. Because moving slender legs requires less force, moving over longer distances requires less work on the part of the runner.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that the ability to run long distances is dependent on a number of elements, some of which include respiratory endurance, leg length, and general body composition.
To fully comprehend the advantages of having tiny calves for long distance running, more research is required.
Reduced Risk Of Developing Liver Disease.
It is interesting to note that the size of the calf may be a predictor of the likelihood of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver of an individual who consumes very little to no alcohol.
The calf circumference could be a predictor of decreased body fat, according to a study that was published in 2017. This type of fat is linked to the accumulation of free fatty acids (FFA), which are a fuel derived from fat.
Therefore, more FFA buildup might be associated with larger calves.
There is a correlation between high FFA levels and NAFLD risk factors, which include the following:
- Stress caused by oxidation
- Irritation that persists over time.
- A resistance to insulin’s effects.
This lends credence to the hypothesis that smaller calves may be related with a lower chance of developing these illnesses.
However, this possible advantage might not be available to all individuals. The correlation between having larger calves and an increased risk of NAFLD was only found in people who were fat or overweight and not in people who were lean.
The Cons Of Small Calves
There may be some negative health effects associated with having a small calf.
Less Power Generated By The Legs
If you’re more interested in sprinting than going the distance, having smaller calves could work against you.
In comparison to long distance running, sprinting demands significantly higher leg power. In addition, having larger calves is connected with having better leg power.
Jumping also requires the usage of your calf muscles. However, if you have weak calf muscles, it would be tough for you to reach your full potential in terms of jumping.
Increased Risk Of Injury And Falls
Your balance, posture, and overall stability all depend on the strength of your calf muscles. They perform the function of providing support for your foot and ankle joint. If your calves are weak, you may be more likely to struggle with your balance and stability.
The larger the calf, the stronger it will often be. They have the potential to lessen the likelihood of injuries and falls, which is especially important as people get older.
Increased Risk Of Mobility Issues
According to research done in 2017, the diameter of your calves is directly proportional to the amount of muscle in your body. As a result, having smaller calves could signify having less muscular mass across the body.
Sarcopenia can progress more quickly in people who have a lower total muscle mass. As a consequence of this, there is an increased possibility of limited mobility, functional impairment, and disability.
How To Increase The Size Of Your Thighs And Calves.
There are things you can do to improve the strength and build of your calves, despite the fact that some elements, such as genetics and age, are beyond your control.
Your calf muscles can benefit from being challenged with any one of the following three workouts. They need you to raise your heels against the resistance of your body weight or an elastic band.
1. Calf Flex With Band-Assisted.
Your calf muscles and your ankles will both benefit from this exercise. You will need a mat and a resistance band in order to test it out.
- Take a seat on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Put some straightness into your back.
- Wrap the ends of a resistance band securely around your hands and place it around the balls of your feet.
- Do not move your knees or elevate your feet off the floor as you perform this exercise. Instead, flex your feet upward and then forward.
- Perform 2-3 sets with 10-15 repetitions per set.
Sit on a yoga block or a blanket that has been folded in half if you find that you have trouble keeping a straight back.
2. Calf Raises While Standing.
Standing calf raises are one of the most effective exercises for increasing the size of the calves. The gastrocnemius is the largest muscle in the calf, and this workout focuses on strengthening it. You can perform this exercise with or without the use of weights.
- Maintain good posture and space your feet about the breadth of your shoulders apart. You should keep your shoulders loose and a slight bend in your knees when you work out with weights held at your sides.
- Raise both of your heels off the floor while maintaining a strong core and a backward shoulder position.
- Take a little pause at the peak, and then slowly lower your heels to the starting position.
- Perform two or three sets of 15 reps each. You have the option of using a lesser or higher weight, or you can perform the exercise without using any weights at all if that is more to your liking.
You can give calf lifts with one leg a try for an additional level of difficulty. Raise the heel of the foot that is not on the floor by bending the knee of the leg that is on the floor. Alter your position, then continue.
This exercise can also be performed on a machine that does calf raises.
3. Perform Plié Squats While Raising Your Heels.
A squat with a wide stance and a heel rise are also components of this exercise. It’s a terrific exercise for multitasking because it strengthens your calves, glutes, thighs, and core all at the same time.
- Get into a wide stance with your feet turned outward to begin. Keep your palms facing inward as you cradle two dumbbells in front of your shoulders.
- Raise the heel of your left foot off the ground while maintaining the sole of your right foot flat.
- Bend your knees and lower your body toward the ground until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Do this without moving your heels or your arms. After pausing, go back to the spot from which you started.
- Complete 10-15 reps. Alter your position, then continue.
You may want to perform this exercise without using dumbbells if you have pain or discomfort in your wrists.
Other Methods To Increase The Size Of The Calf
In addition to this, you can try practicing the activities listed below to help strengthen and grow your calves:
- Sprinting. Your calf muscles will be put to the test when you sprint in bursts of high intensity.
- Walking in an incline When you walk or run uphill, you force your calves to work harder against a greater amount of resistance.
- A game of jumping rope. Skipping rope is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness while also helping to tone and strengthen your calves.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of people who have trouble growing their calf muscles to a larger size. This is typically the result of various factors, including age, genetics, and body weight.
Concentrate on activities that are designed to precisely target your calf muscles if you want to build up your calves. It’s possible that you’ll be able to tone, strengthen, and even expand the size of your calves if you put these muscles through an exercise that requires them to work against resistance.
Before beginning a new training plan or if you want additional information on how to build your calves, you should consult with either your primary care physician or a personal trainer.