High Calf And Low Calf

high calf low

I read Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff. You noticed that there are big differences in the shape of the calves, high calf, and low calf. The adaptations of the climate during the first human migrations caused these variations.

High calf

It’s common to see African black people with long legs, flat foot, and a long calcaneus. This bone structure of the leg and foot provide a powerful extension of feet to walk. It’s an excellent lever in the ankle and a short calf, thin and high with a long tendon.


It’s common to see Nordic people with short legs with a plantar arch of the foot and a short calcaneus. This bone structure of the leg and foot requires a massive and uneconomic effort to walk. It’s a long calf to help to do an extension of feet to walk.


high calf low anatomy

This type of massive and long calf is actually an adaptation to cold climates to keep body heat. This prevents legs from cooling too much during the freezing cold. In the past, when a leg froze it was necessary to amputate it. These massive and long calves are aesthetic in bodybuilding competitions. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for running and more vulnerable to muscle tears.

Long calves need a careful warm-up. It’s important to do stretching exercises before and after a calves workout.

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6 thoughts on “High Calf And Low Calf”

  1. I would consider my calves to have a fairly low insertion and I run quite often but notice little to no athletic advantage, however when strength training, I notice I’m able to load a lot more onto my calf in exercises that remain fixed.

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and observations with us! It’s interesting to hear about your calf muscle insertion and its effects on your athletic performance.

      Calf muscle insertion points can indeed vary from person to person, and they can influence how your calf muscles respond to different types of activities. While having a lower calf insertion might not necessarily provide a significant advantage in running, it can play a more prominent role in strength training exercises, as you’ve noticed.

      Here’s a bit more information that might help clarify things:

      Running and Low Insertion: Running primarily engages the gastrocnemius, which is the larger, more superficial calf muscle. The efficiency of your running form, stride length, and overall running technique can have a more significant impact on your running performance than the placement of your calf muscle insertion.

      Strength Training and Low Insertion: When it comes to strength training exercises like calf raises, having a lower calf insertion can sometimes provide a mechanical advantage. A lower insertion point allows for a longer lever arm, which means you can generate more force when lifting weights.

      It’s essential to remember that genetics, body composition, and overall training regimen also contribute to your athletic performance. Running, for instance, relies on a combination of factors such as cardiovascular endurance, stride efficiency, and leg strength.

      If you enjoy running and want to see improvements in your running performance, consider working on aspects like running form, endurance, and speed training, in addition to your strength training routine. This well-rounded approach can help you maximize your athletic potential, regardless of your calf muscle insertion point.

      Keep up the great work with your fitness journey, and thank you again for sharing your insights with us!

      Best regards,

  2. true, i have a very athletic build, with long calves, probably quite inefficient for running, i run often. There wasnt any benefits listed for long calves here. Im willing to bet it could be benefitial for hiking mountains. Anything incline.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Even if long calves are not the best to run, continue. Improve your athletic skills.

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