Most gym going women are aware of how their calves appear and most even aware that walking around in heels all day can be both detrimental to calf appearance and body posture. Most ladies biased gyms are equipped with a seated calf raise machine, which is great for developing both the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles (a developed soleus muscle making the calf appear longer). A seated calf raise is also an exercise which encourages the user to perform the full range of movement, allowing a good calf stretch.
The above mention of both a well developed soleus and gastrocnemius muscle (alongside performing a good calf stretch), aptly brings me to something which cropped up again yesterday - a fighter with a torn calf muscle. Having warmed up thoroughly and stretched properly beforehand, a kick boxing instructor could not understand why (when in to a 2 hour long session) he tore his calf during a sparring demonstration. Bouncing around on your toes for 2 hours is tough work with your calves constantly contracting. Even being used to teaching many classes, this sort of duration will cause the calf muscles to become tight and should warrant frequent stretching before, during & after training (as well as a full range of movement when training calves at the gym!). Entering into a sparring match with already tight calves is an accident waiting to happen - as soon as the instructor takes a sharp backward step, his backward leg enters forcefully into a position akin to a calf stretch - ping!
Men's calves in general are one of my bug bares though. Never has genetic differences been more apparent than between men's calves - the one's that train them that is. I (GP) will cover more on calf training amongst other articles, as I've waffled far too much already, so here are a selection of calf exercises to keep you busy...
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