How to Hit Those Stubborn Outer Calves

Developing a proportional physique requires paying equal attention to every muscle group. When it comes to lower legs, the real challenge is developing the outer head of the calf.

However, the Armstrong Atlantic State University may have a solution to this problem.

According to their current research, you can transfer the emphasis to the lateral (outer) head when performing standing calf raises, by simply turning your toes inwards. Although this seems to counter logic, the study conducted at the University has shown promising results in developing the outer head.

The gastrocnemius is a powerful muscle that runs at the back of your leg traversing two joints. It has two heads – both beginning at the femur – one from the outer and the other from the inner condyle. Together with the soleus muscle they create the calf connecting at the calcaneal tendon, better known as the Achilles tendon, and are attached to the heal. The gastrocnemius muscle consists of two heads inner and outer head, that run from the knee to two the heals.

The Armstrong Atlantic State University study has also noticed the positive effects that seated calf raises have on the soleus muscle, which lies directly under the gastrocnemius and is so closely connected to it, that is often considered as an integral part of this muscle.  Another alternative is doing calf raises on leg press with your toes turned in.

So, if you want to incorporate this trick into your practice, you should start the calf exercises with toes turned in while you are still fresh. You can then finish the routine doing sets with straight toes.


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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