This is a similar shot to what you see on the cover of the book Arnold: Education of a Bodybuilder. Even though this is primarily a biceps pose, notice the left calf in the foreground. One of the things that made Schwarzenegger’s calves stand out so much and is demonstrated in this side shot example is the relative size of the joint to where the muscle is the widest.
If you look at modern bodybuilders who take insulin, growth hormone and everything else under the sun their arms(Exhibit A Below), for example, from the shoulder to the forearm, are one huge block. There’s a lessening of the taper at the elbow that creates a wow factor. It’s like when someone has wide knees, it detracts from the calves. Surely, this isn’t new to most bodybuilders reading this, the idea that smaller joints make the muscles stand out more and look bigger?
Below, look at the triceps of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steve Reeves and how much their triceps stand out against the elbow joint area. The same thing obviously applies to the calf muscles from the front. A narrower knee makes the calf appear wider. The same is true from the side and is probably more exaggerated on Arnold than on almost any other bodybuilder. In the above photo look at how, in this side view, the calf muscles around the knee are relatively narrow and then flare out really wide mid calf— even in a side view. In a lot of bodybuilders that difference isn’t nearly as dramatic and they have “who cares” calves. They’re big but so what? Nothing special. The same holds true for the biceps. Arnold doesn’t have a big rectangular block for an upper arm. The arm is low at the elbow, then shoots way high for the peak, and then tapers back down to where the shoulder starts. That’s why Arnold is considered to have mountain-like biceps peaks.
Now that you’re aware of this in Arnold’s calves from the side, you’ll notice it in every picture and notice that most other bodybuilders don’t have that side calf taper to such a great extent. There are many subtle reasons why Arnold stood out so much and why 21st century bodybuilding magazines still put 1970s photos him on their covers.
Below: Joe Weider and Arnold Schwarzenegger