It is one of the most commonly neglected areas of training, often made slight of in certain circles yet is of enormous consequence in sport and bodybuilding circles. The training of the calf region, or what I prefer anecdotally to refer to as the ‘lower levers’ is of critical importance but often disregarded as inconsequential.
Within bodybuilding the classical Greek image comes to mind but likely no better documented situation than the legendary Steve Reeves and his theory of body proportion and symmetry. Mr. Reeves went to detailed lengths to outline the perfect proportions, taking into account an individual’s height, joint circumference and overall musculature.
Ankle: Calf = 1:1.92 Knee: Thigh = 1:1.75 Pelvis: Waist = 1:.86 Pelvis: Chest = 1:1.48 Wrist:Arm = 1:2.52 Knee: Thigh = 1:1.75
What should be come quite clear is that legends of the iron-game not only sought to create the classic male form in their training, a type of personal sculptor through diligent training but equally respected a highly ‘purposeful’ muscle mass that ensured absolute balance.
This respect for calf development has not fared well in recent years as many training circles have allowed technical aspects of movements to change to suit greater loads. Case in point is the use of a wide base Squat with too great of torso angle that takes much of load off the legs and the simple lack of appreciating calf and ‘lower lever’ development.
Within athletic circles, clearly this is underscored with pulling actions and the final segments of say the Clean or Snatch Pull, High or Hang Pull and the Jump Shrug whereby triple extensive is crucial and of-course the calf is deeply involved. This issue needs to be greatly expanded within athletic circles to consider the ankle and podiatric concerns, as well as tactile response as with the opening segment of RED2 where the athlete controls movement with precise foot placement.
Simply stated calf training is crucial and reason why each training session will finish with a few hundred steps of walking lunges with a raise.
Prepared by John Davies
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