Anatomy of the Thighs, and Calves

The front portion of the legs consist of 4 powerful quadriceps muscles: the rectos femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis and vastus laterals. The main function of the quadriceps muscles is to extend and straighten the legs. The back portion of the legs is known as the hamstrings, or leg biceps. The main function of the hamstrings is to curl the leg back.

Basic Exercises:

There are three basic types of thigh exercises:

Presses: In which the legs are pushed and straightened in a straight line

Extensions: In which the legs are extended in an arc away from the body

Curls: In which the legs are drawn in an arc towards the back. Presses and extensions primarily stress the quadriceps and curls stress the hamstrings.

Complete Thigh Development:

In order to achieve well balanced thighs, you must perform all of the exercises explained above to make sure the legs are hit from all necessary angles. Here are some of the best mass building exercises for the thighs:


Leg presses

Leg extensions

Leg Curls

I recommend performing at the least 15 sets for the legs since they are the most powerful muscles on the body, and can certainly handle the stress because they are designed to support your body to walk all day. You will find that the legs have a better muscular endurance than your upper body muscle groups, this is why I find it necessary to stress complete development. My personal thigh routine looks like this:

Leg extensions – 4×6-12-20

Lunges  walking

Hack Squat – 4×6-12

Leg curls – 4×6-12

Anatomy of the Calves:

The 2 headed muscle of the lower leg is known as the calve. It consists of the soleus muscle and gastrocnemius muscle. The main function of the calve is to flex the foot. Think of it is standing on the tips of your toes.

Basic Exercises:

The basic exercises for the calves are known as:

Raises – In which the foot is flexed onto the tips of the toes.

Raises completely isolate the calves.

Complete Calf Development:

In order to completely develop the calves, you must perform 2 or more raise type exercises, I recommend standing and sitting raises. Some of the best mass builders for the calves are:

Seated calf raises

Standing calf raises w/ hack squat machine

My personal calf routine looks like this:

Seated calf raises – 4×6-12-15

Standing calf raises – 4×6-12

Combine all of that with some intensity principles and you have yourself a killer leg workout.


Like what you just read? If you live in the New York City area contact professional Manny Kirby for some killer workouts.

One response to “Anatomy of the Thighs, and Calves

  1. Good excercises for body building but what do you do to increase leg strength for performance? seeing as your foot is on the ground with the body moving over it in various planes reacting to gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum. In other words training for “go” not “show”?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s