How to Hit Those Stubborn Outer Calves

Bodybuilding requires full development of each muscle group. For lower legs, that means equal development of the gastrocnemius, or calf. The gastrocnemius has two heads, the medial (inner) head and the lateral (outer) head. For many, the real challenge is the outer head. Research done at Armstrong Atlantic State University has shown that turning your toes inward when doing standing calf raises shifts the emphasis to the outer head. Yes, it sounds a little confusing, but it’s the way to go for outer calves. Also, seated calf raises place greater emphasis on the soleus, which lies underneath the gastrocnemius.


Calf raises on leg press (hip sled), toes turned in.


Begin calf workouts with toes turned inward while your calves are fresh, then finish with a few sets with your toes straight.

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The gastrocnemius traverses two joints, the knee and the ankle. The inner head originates at the inner condyle of the femur. The outer head originates at the outer condyle of the femur. Both heads converge at the calcaneal tendon, or Achilles tendon as it is more commonly known, which attaches to the heel.


Standing Calf Raise on Machine (toes in): 3 sets, 20–25 reps

Standing Calf Raise on Machine (toes straight)3 sets, 12–15 reps

Seated Calf Raise (toes in): 3 sets, 20–25 reps

Seated Calf Raise (toes straight): 3 sets, 12–15 reps


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