Dennis Wolf’s Calves – Why Aren’t They Huge?

Dennis Wolf is obviously a gifted bodybuilder. He is wide, tall and has the so-called X-frame. His biggest weakness seem to be the calf department.

If the rest of him is so big, why aren’t his calves huge too?



Genetics are obviously super important in the sport of bodybuilding and if you don’t have the ‘right’ genes for huge calves, you are not going to have well developed lower legs. People like Dennis Wolf have the so-called high calves which means that the Achilles tendon is very long and the muscle bellies are quite short. This limits the potential for growth.

2.Androgens receptors

In general, there is higher concentration of androgen receptors in the upper body. This is mostly true for males and less for females. This factor explains to an extent why one like Dennis Wolf can have a monstrous upper body and weak calves. The lower you go, the less androgens receptors there are. Of course, nothing is written in stone and some people have much easier time developing big legs than upper body mass.

3.Nerve damage

Another factor that may be contributing to Dennis Wolf’s calf size is nerve damage. When a nerve is damaged, it’s hard to activate the muscle completely when it’s under tension. A good example would be Ronnie Coleman who according to the rumors suffered from a nerve damage in his left lat and therefore it was smaller and asymmetrical compared to his right one.


4.Poor training

Of course, another factor that can contribute to poor calf development is poor training. Back in the day Arnold Schwarzenegger used to have weak lower legs and that’s why he was usually taking shots in rivers to hide his weakness.

However, after super heavy calf training with Reg Park he improved his calves to the point where they became a very strong body part of his.

That does not mean that there is a secret routine that would transform Dennis Wolf’s calves into monsters. One would expect that a bodybuilder from his level would have tried everything under the Sun to improve his lower leg development.



5.Calves are not among the ‘marketable muscle groups‘.

There have been many bodybuilding champions with weak calves besides Dennis Wolf. Even Ronnie Coleman himself didn’t have the best set of calves. However, that did not stop him from being good enough for 8 Mr. Olympias in the eyes of the judges who seem to not care so much about calf muscles.


  1. joe santus

    A popular misconception about Arnold’s calves is that how he managed to build them from mediocre to world-class demonstrates that “anybody can build calves if he works hard, heavy, and intensely long enough”.


    While other national and world level bodybuilders often have good or better calves after little training or even before they begin bodybuilding (Chris Dickerson and Sergio Oliva, contemporaries of Schwarzenegger, are two examples), Arnold had what might be termed “hidden calf potential”. Arnold had great calf genetic potential, but, in his case, he had to work heavy and hard to unlock that genetic potential. His latent potential was so great that, once he began to work them hard, with as much as 1,000 lb calf raises, he claims, “In one year my calves grew two inches. They grew so quickly that some people began to say that I had gotten calf implants.”

    Meaning, Arnold had exceptional calf genetics, but his did require concentrated effort to realize them.

    Regrettably, his experience does not represent what the average person can expect if the average guy trains as hard and heavy as Arnold did. If Arnold didn’t possess the great latent calf potential he did, then he could have done calf raises with 1,000 pounds for ten years yet still had mediocre calves. His training worked, not because it was so heavy and hard, but because he had great calf genes to respond to that training. Most of us do not, including Dennis Wolf.

    1. joe santus

      …as a post script…
      The fact that training as hard and heavy for as Arnold did won’t get you great calves unless you too have great calf genetics doesn’t mean you can’t maximize whatever potential you do have by training your hard and heavy for at least two years. But it does mean that, unless your calf genetics give you superb potential, there are no “secrets to getting calves like Arnold’s”. Put in at least two solid years of progressive intelligent training on your calves, and then accept whatever results your genes allow.

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