Will Running Make Calves Bigger

As an avid runner, one of the questions I often get asked is whether running will make your calves bigger. It’s a topic that has sparked a lot of debate among runners and fitness enthusiasts. Let’s dive into this popular question and explore the science behind it.

The Relationship Between Running and Calf Size

First, let’s address the common belief that running will significantly increase the size of your calves. While it’s true that running is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise that engages the calf muscles, the impact it has on increasing calf size is not as significant as many people think. In fact, running primarily develops the endurance and strength of the calf muscles rather than dramatically increasing their size.

The Science Behind Muscle Growth

When it comes to muscle growth, the concept of hypertrophy is key. Hypertrophy refers to the increase in the size of muscle cells. In order to achieve significant muscle hypertrophy, a specific type of training known as resistance training or strength training is necessary. This involves exercises such as weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, and resistance bands, which create the muscle tension required for significant muscle growth.

Consider Genetics

Another factor to consider is genetics. Genetics play a crucial role in determining the size and shape of our muscles. Some individuals may naturally have larger calf muscles, while others may find it more challenging to increase their calf size, regardless of the type of exercise they do. It’s important to keep in mind that genetics can influence how our bodies respond to different forms of exercise, including running.

Other Methods for Increasing Calf Size

If your goal is specifically to increase the size of your calf muscles, incorporating targeted resistance exercises into your workout routine can be beneficial. Exercises such as calf raises, jump rope, and box jumps can help to stimulate muscle growth in the calves. Additionally, ensuring that you are consuming an adequate amount of protein and maintaining a balanced diet can support muscle growth.


In conclusion, while running is an excellent form of exercise with numerous health benefits, it is not the primary driver of significant calf muscle growth. If your goal is to specifically increase the size of your calf muscles, incorporating targeted resistance exercises and maintaining a balanced diet are essential. Remember, every individual’s body responds differently to exercise, so it’s important to find a workout routine that aligns with your personal fitness goals and preferences.