The calf muscles

(M. soleus und M. gastrocnemius)


Both muscles, the M. soleus and the M. gastrocnemius are often summarized as the muscle of three, the M. triceps surae. The M. gastrocnemius with its 2 heads and the M. soleus with one head are the main muscles for plantar flexion. This stands for bending the foot downwards in the ankle joint. Muscles are able to lift the weight of the body in standing position or while going. The calf gets its typical shape from the M. gastrocnemius with its two parts, the Caput mediale and the Caput laterale. Its final tendon is connected to the one of the M. soleus and originates on the heel bone as Achilles' tendon.

The M. soleus is almost completely covered by its partner of two heads. A lever is built by its point of origin on the heel bone, by which energy is transmitted to the ankle joint.

The real power applied to the joint depends upon the length of the lever. Special ways of levering allow a more effective muscle use according to scientific statements. Elite sprinters seem to be that fast, because they can use their muscle power more effectively because of short ways of levering.



M. gastrocnemius (twin-calf-muscle) with the Caput mediale and the Caput laterale



Caput mediale – bone outward bulge of the thigh bone (medial)

Caput laterale – bone outward bulge of the thigh bone (lateral)

Base: via the Achilles' tendon on the heel bone

Plantar flexion and supination (rotation outwards) in the ankle joint, bending in knee joint




M. soleus


Origin: Back surface of shinbone and calfbone
Base: via the Achilles' tendon on the heel bone

Plantar flexion and supination in the ankle joint





Exercise examples



Calf lifting (leg press)


Course of motion:

  • Take your position on the leg press
  • Rest the back on
  • Put feet just with the front foot against the given platform
  • Legs are stretched
  • Thighs are parallel
  • Hands hold contact to the grips
  • Push slowly forwards the platform with the front zone of the feet
  • Hold contact with toes to the platform
  • Return slowly to the starting position



  • Exhale while pushing the platform away
  • Inhale while returning


Advices of proof:

  • Do not loose completely the tension
  • Mind a regular breathing
  • Do a course of motion the greatest possible
  • Adjust the weight to the fitness level



  • Calf lifting in standing position (with and without additional weights)
  • Calf lifting in sitting position with dumbbell
  • Foot stretching with Thera-Band
  • Wall sitting with calf lifting


You can use different training tools for exercising calf muscles and to get a varied and motivating workout. Use training accessories like, i.e.:



back to the muscle guide overview

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