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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nelson

What does the look of your calves say about you?

Updated: May 23, 2022

Different shapes, different functions

The appearance of your calf muscles can tell you a lot about your function. From the recent Sports Chiro Australia Strength & Conditioning seminar, GWS Head of High Performance, David Joyce discussed how the calf muscle appearance can relate to function.

The propulsive calf

1. The propulsive calf

  • The world’s fastest runners don’t have big calves

  • Characterized by slender muscle bulk with long, stiff tendons

  • This calf muscle needs to act as a stable platform and contract isometrically/quasi isometrically, using the Achilles tendon to act as a spring.

The yielding calf

2. The yielding calf

  • Big calves!

  • Needed to absorb, overcome and drive high forces

  • Seen in rugby front rowers & wrestlers

  • Maximal force development is critical, often respond to overload eccentrics & slow strength development

The aesthetic calf

3. The aesthetic calf

  • Hypertrophy is often the aim with high reps, moderate-high load & high frequency

  • Look nice, but is metabolically very inefficient

The hybrid calf

4. The hybrid calf

  • Often seen in those that play AFL, Soccer and Tennis

  • Seen in sports requiring speed, power & endurance

As you can see, the required demand on the calf will dictate how you train them, and not one strength program suits all demands!

For further assistance on individualizing programs for you, please don't hesitate to contact us at

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May 23, 2022

Ok thank You


May 22, 2022

Can you choose which calf shape you want yours to look like . I want to try and get it to look like the hybrid calf?

Health & High Performance
Health & High Performance
May 22, 2022
Replying to

Good question Harrison. So genetics plays a big part here in the shape, so whilst you can change the strength & power of your calves, you can't change create dramatic changes in shape

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