Why it’s difficult to tone your calves – part 2

Last week, #TrifocusBrandAmbassador – Ashleigh Frost – chatted to us about why your calves are the most difficult muscle – in your body – to tone. This week, she’ll be talking to us about the anatomy of the calves.

Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the calf muscles:

The lower leg (below the knee) is made up of essentially 10 major muscles. The calves are not only made up of the Soleus and Gastrocnemius as so many people believe. These major muscles include:

  • On the front of the leg, the Tibialis Anterior, Peroneus Longus, Peroneus Brevis, Extensor Digitorum Longus, Extensor Hallicus Longus, and
  • At the back the Soleus. Gastrocnemius, Posterior Tibialis, Flexor Hallicus Longus and Flexor D0igitorum Longus.

Now I know alot of these names are Greek to you if you are not versed in anatomy but I have included a diagram for you to follow:

Why it is difficult to tone your calves

I am going to focus on the Soleus and Gastrocnemius as well as the Peroneus Longus and the Anterior Tibialis muscles.

Gastrocnemius and Soleus

The Gastrocnemius is the larger of the two calf muscles. It is the visible ‘bulge’ beneath the skin:

  • The Gastrocnemius has two heads, which create that beautiful diamond shape.
  • The Soleus is smaller and flatter, and lies under the Gastrocnemius.

Although it is obvious that the Soleus and Gastrocnemius make up the bulk of the calf muscle, it is important to keep in mind the other smaller surrounding muscles as well as the dynamics of the ankle joint if you want to target the calf muscles correctly.

If you take a second to think about the movement of the ankle, you will know that you can point your toes (plantar flexion), flex your foot up towards the knee (dorsiflexion) as well as rotate the bottom of your foot inwards (inversion) as well as outwards (eversion). These are all movements that we are blissfully unaware of that we do in everyday life, however, the action of plantar flexion and inversion are the only two movements that use the bulk of the calf muscle (the Gastrocnemius and the Soleus). The other movements use the aforementioned (and other) smaller muscles, which include the:

  •  Tibialis Anterior,
  • Extensor Hallicus Longus,
  • Extensor Digitorum Longus,
  • Peroneus Longus, and
  • Peroneus brevis.

So it is vital to know how to target ALL of these muscles in order to achieve optimal calf development as well as joint stability.

Catch Ashleigh – and the other #TrifocusBrandAmbassadors – on the #TrifocusFitApp which is avaiable for Android and iOS.




Why your bones wish you’d do more weight training
Endorphins and exercise: The drug of choice