Planet Grok

Where intuition reigns supreme

The Chinaman’s Calf

Posted by PlanetGrok on February 28, 2010

Hat tip to Andy, The Asian of Reason, for pointing this out. It’s something that I’ve noticed also, but have not thought about much until I saw someone else noticed it too.

Athletic Asians have huge calf muscles. This perplexed me deeply. Why is that?

I think I’ve arrived at an answer, and it explains why athletic asians still can’t jump when they get to the NBA.

Calf muscles are used for balance in walking and jogging, not jumping. They push your body forward more than up. That’s why I always laugh at guys trying to improve their vert by doing calf raises. Gotta do your squats, kiddo. Most of the energy for jumping comes from the butt and lower back.

If you’ve ever gone running on the beach barefoot, you know how much your calves hurt afterward.  This is because the sand is not firm, and your calf muscles have to work harder to balance and push you forward. What other environment is one that gives way to your feet, and probably would give your calves a good workout?

Rice paddies.

Mystery solved.


7 Responses to “The Chinaman’s Calf”

  1. One Moniker said

    Indian men are built for yoga, East Asian men are built for the Asian martial arts.

    Interesting about calves and balance. Traditionally Asian exercises and martial arts are about “balance” of the mind, body, spirit.

    The types of physical sports, exercises and martial arts and even traditional dances that have developed organically in cultures are those that best reflect the abilities and qualities of the peoples of those cultures.

    Sure, there are some very successful cross-overs, but you yourself observed the Indian and East Asian dudes in your gym. They were made for yoga and East Asian sports, end of story.

  2. I also laugh when I see guys frantically trying to improve their vertical by doing calve isolation exercises. But all the Asians I know who can jump decently high/dunk, have had to work hard for it. They do squats, lunges, upper body, everything, to help their vertical, but they ALWAYS end up with big calves. Squats do work calves as a secondary muscle.

    The syndrome is called daikon/radish leg in Asia. Surgery to reduce calf size is also commonly done in East Asia (for women), especially in South Korea. Having a slim calf is considered a trait of beauty. The biological explanation is centered around the medial gastrocnemius muscle. Asians usually have the muscle a little higher (or lower?) than other races.

    Thankfully, Kim Yu Na, the Korean gold medalist figure skater, doesn’t seem to have radish leg. I think she is kimchi hot. 😀

    Blacks, on the other cheek, naturally have powerful gluteus muscles and higher vertical leaps. This is where their vertical leap comes from. It’s all about the ass. The blacks I know can usually dunk without spending much time in the gym. It’s natural for them.

    Some athletic whites do tend to gravitate towards radish leg, especially if they are stocky in build.

    If you can dunk in Asia, you’ll make the basketball team, no sweat. At predominantly black schools, there are probably many kids who can dunk, but aren’t on varsity.

    Oh HBD.

    • PlanetGrok said

      Interesting. There are definitely a fair amount of whites with radish leg. A post I have been thinking of making in the future will be about the stocky white “peasant” phenotype, which is prone to this. I always kind of wish I had large calves, but I wouldn’t want my daughters to be cursed with cankles, either.

  3. Chuck said

    Interesting. Large calves are a sign of proleness. Small calves, like pale skin for women in a foregone era of Western civilization, signify wealth and high status.

    In the dichotomy between “master” and “slave”, it serves the slave best to have large calves. They succeed in the task they must do to survive – culling rice in this case. At the same time, the “master” class rebels against this mark of the slave. Phenotypes disperse at a doubly rapid pace because of this conscious reaction to class perception.

    • PlanetGrok said

      I hadn’t thought about the class implications of calf size,but now that I think about it, prole whites also tend to have what Andy calls the Radish Calf.

  4. […] Another post of his deals with the explanation of large calf muscles in sporty Asians.  His thesis is that large calves in Asians were an adaptation to rice patties.  Similar to walking on sand, walking around on soft ground involves greater use of the calf muscles.  […]

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