Why high calves can’t grow?

Calves are a problematic part for many bodybuilders. Usually those who struggle to develop that area also have the so-called high calf attachment a.k.a high calves. Why is that an obstacle?

People with high calves have longer Achilles tendon and shorter muscle bellies. Since the tendons represent a form of connective tissue connecting the muscle to the bone they do not respond to stimulus with growth.

The organism is intelligently programmed and if our tendons were getting bigger as a result of training, basic tasks such as walking would be a problem. Tendons get stronger and ticker thanks to weight training but meaningful size increase is impossible.


Lionel Beyeke has high calves

Lionel Beyeke has high calves

On the other hand muscles grow. They have better blood supply and that’s why a muscle tear recovers faster than a ligament or tendon tear. Connective tissues have 1/10th of the blood supply a muscle enjoys.

When people have high calves and short muscles there’s not much to grow in the first place. For that reason most bodybuilders with high calves have average to weak calf development.

In the modern bodybuilding scene a good example would be Lionel Beyeke from France and Dennis Wolf from Germany.

In the photo you can see that Beyeke has a really long Achilles tendon and short calf muscles. There’s no space for the muscle to grow.

People who have good calf development usually have short Achilles tendons and long muscles bellies. When that’s the case there’s more potential for muscular growth.

What can you do to fix that?

Nothing. This is a genetic factor and people are just born this way. There could be surgery procedures that may claim to fix the problem but it will be expensive, painful and dangerous. You would have to spend months and months in a wheelchair and later on when you train calves your Achilles tendons will be exposed to high injury risk since the genetic integrity of the skeletal muscular system has been altered.