The lower legs, the base of the entire body, used to be important. Grimek had calves. Reeves had calves. Sergio, Arnold, Dickerson, Waller, Matarazzo, Yates, Mentzer, Viator, Coe, Davis, Platz, Mendenhall, Francois, Fox, Fux, Dillett, DeMelo, etc… had calves. But the calf standard has been muddled by the last 2 decades. Ronnie Coleman’s calves were suspect. Even prior to 20 years ago, Flex Wheeler’s, Aaron Baker’s, even Lou Ferrigno in his 1990’s Olympias appeared to have some sort of ‘assistance’.
The current Mr. Olympia, Big Rami, with calves that are by no means small, has tiny calves in comparison to his thighs. Huge thighs, paired up with much smaller calves, look awkward, but that look seems to be the norm these days. That’s not to say there haven’t been any outstanding calves in the last two decades. Phil Heath had outstanding calves. Jay Cutler’s weren’t shabby, although his knee size and posture diminished his knee/calf ratio. Dallas McCarver had great calves. Flex Lewis has great calves. Erik Fankhouser’s calves may be/have been the biggest calves ever. It’s just that a lot of disproportionately small calves have been overlooked by bodybuilding judges in the last two decades. Maybe a lot of this is due to the heavy androgenics, insulin, GH, or whatever, used these days that allows everyone’s thighs to become so much more disproportionate than the calves that the judges have to look the other way or almost everyone would be marked down. Maybe, relatively new contests like the Classic Olympia are forcing bodybuilders to choose their drug and exercise use more artfully because of weight limits and new expectations from Classic judges.
A memorable scene in Pumping Iron is the ‘Schwarzenegger’s calf fibers gone wild’ scene when Arnold flexed them at Gold’s Gym. His calves weren’t just there. Something happened when he flexed them. They came alive. It’s laughable that some think Schwarzenegger had implants. He didn’t, as if implants are capable of flexing.
Schwarzenegger’s knee/calf differential was comic book hero-ish. The same could be said of Matt Mendenhall. Mendenhall also had the calf “bump” like no other bodybuilder and a knee/calf ratio better than Arnold. Urs Kalecinski could give Mendenhall a run for his money on knee/calf ratio, however.
The Classic Mr. Olympia is bringing back calves, especially in the form of Urs Kalecinski, who according to a video with William Bonac, is concerned his calves may be too big(!) and only trains them once a week. Like Schwarzenegger and Mendenhall, Kalecinski’s knee to calf ratio is what pushes his calves towards greatness. It’s all about looks and often illusion. The smaller your knees, the larger your calves appear. We understand that there is a genetic component to calves but overdeveloping the thighs will not improve calf genetics or appearance.
Watch the short documentary below, The History of Calves, for further explanations.
Urs Kalecinski was born in Germany but his entire family is Polish and he was the first to be born in Germany. Urs is a Swiss name and Kalecinski doesn’t know exactly how he got a Swiss name but coincidentally he lived in Switzerland where he taught physical education for a year before he turned pro.
Urs Kalecinski Contest History
- 2022 IFBB Pro League Kuwait Classic Pro Men’s Classic Physique 1st
- 2022 IFBB Pro League Boston Pro Men’s Classic Physique 1st
- 2022 IFBB Pro League Arnold Classic USA Pro Men’s Classic Physique 3rd
- 2021 IFBB Pro League Olympia Pro Men’s Classic Physique 4th
- 2021 IFBB Pro League Tampa Pro Men’s Classic Physique 1st
- 2021 IFBB Pro League Xtreme Bodybuilding & Fitness Pro Men’s Classic Physique 2nd
- 2019 IFBB Pro League Dennis James Classic Pro Men’s Classic Physique 6th
- 2019 NPC Worldwide Amateur Olympia UK Men’s Classic Physique – class C 4th
Below: Is that Urs Kalecinski or Dorian Yates? Kalecinski may be “Mr. Aesthetics” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have monster proportions. And Yates had a very aesthetic leg structure. Longer legs, small knee, flaring calves, full, long 3D quads, nothing awkward at all about Yates’ leg structure. And Urs Kalecinski, at only 23, has a similar great structure. Maybe better as far as the knee/calf dynamics.
When you see Urs’ contest photos, you might think Zane or along those lines, but if you look at his workout videos, he’s a much bigger guy than Zane. You don’t want to see Kalecinski sacrifice his aesthetics for size in the future but one wonders how big he could get and still maintain the classic look. In a video with Marcus Ruhl, Urs looked a good 2 inches taller than Ruhl, listed at 5’10”. I’ve seen Kalecinski listed several times as 5’9″ but I don’t see how this is possible. Keep scrolling to see Kalecinski look comprable in height next to 6’1″ CBum.
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