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Causes of Big Calves – Fat Vs Muscular Calves

8/22 15:20:04

Causes of big calvesThe reasons for large calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles) can include the following:


If it is genetic (looking at your parents or siblings may help) there isn’t much that you can do to minimize your calf muscles. You can change some variables of your anatomy, but not others. For example, if you have a short Achilles tendon (the tendon that attaches the back of the heel to the calf muscle), your calf muscle will look bigger. Why? Because your calf muscle has to extend lower down your leg to meet the short tendon. However, if you have a long tendon, this tendon reaches further up the leg, allowing the calf muscle to sit high up, making it look smaller and more defined. It is impossible to lengthen your tendons. However, you can focus on ensuring that you avoid movements/ exercises that will make your calf muscles larger.


Repetitive activity involving walking on the balls of your feet (i.e. bearing your weight on the front of the foot), may lead to building-up of the calf muscles. Avoid any activity, which forces heavy use of the balls of your feet (this includes walking in high heels!)


You could have your gait analyzed, as it may be a possibility that you are overusing your calf muscles when walking. This may be because you are overcompensating for weak surrounding muscles. If the muscle at the front of your lower leg i.e. shins (tibialis anterior, which have the opposite function to calf muscles) is weak/ over-stretched, strengthening them, will help lengthen the calf muscle.


Another reason for large calf muscles it that there may simply be a lot of fat in this area, bulking up the calves and making them look big. Everyone has problem spots, even if they are slim. Unfortunately, these problem areas tend to be the last places that fat shifts from when losing weight. This means that you have to be patient, but because it may be the last place that the fat shifts from your body, when you do get slim legs and slim thighs the rest of your body will hopefully be looking great.

A lot of women have large calves. Although a slightly different problem, women such as Misha Barton and Katie Holmes have “cankles” and still look great. Thus, even if you are unable to reduce the size of your calves, remember to focus on the great parts of your body and emphasize those. Depending on the reason for your large calves, if you are unable to slim your calves down, you can stop them getting bigger by avoiding certain exercises/ movements.

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