Steve Reeves was an American bodybuilder and actor. By many he is considered the ideal bodybuilder because of his proportions, symmetry and aesthetic flow. One of his strongest body parts besides his big arms, slim mid-section and wide lats were his massive diamond shaped calf muscles.
A lot of people struggle with calves and cannot get them to grow.
How did Steve Reeves build his lower leg muscles?
According to the information online Steve Reeves did not rely solely on the traditional calf raises to build his massive lower legs.
Back in the day Steve Reeves used to deliver newspapers in Oakland, California. He was riding a bicycle (real one) for miles every day. In order to place more stress on the calf muscles Reeves made a conscious effort to stay on his toes when peddling.
Years later Steve attributed his calf development to this very technique. An additional factor that played an important role was the uneven route which often consisted of uphills and downhills. This added even more resistance.
During his preparation for the 1950 Mr. Universe in London, England, Steve Reeves used a special so-called “yoke” apparatus for his calves. The unique “yoke” or harness rested on top of an old parallel bar set-up.
Reeves also performed the popular Donkey calf raises with people sitting on top him. He was also obsessed with proper form and each repetition was done under control. There were no jerky movements.
Finally, in order to further stimulate his calf muscles Reeves used to run backwards.
Conclusion: Steve Reeves built his calves through hard work but he also had favorable genetics – short Achilles tendon.
People with long Achilles tendons usually present poor lower leg development because there’s only so much muscle to grow in the first place.
The guys with the big calves are usually those with the shorter tendons and longer calf muscles.
Calf development and the genetic factor have been further explained in this article: Calves And Genetics.