Have you been skipping your calf muscle exercises during your workouts? When it comes to working out the lower body, most people tend to concentrate on their butt and upper legs.
Besides the fact that you use your calf muscles in almost any daily activity, such as walking, running or climbing stairs. Your calves are one of the most noticeable features of your legs.
When they are toned with slimming muscle, they will make the rest of your legs look thinner. The best way to strengthen and tone your lower legs is by doing a few simple calf muscle exercises two to three times a week.
Calf Muscle Exercises
The calf exercises we have chosen will only take about 10 minutes to do and they will definitely help to keep your calf muscles strong and proportioned with the rest of your body.
Standing Calf Raise
The standing calf raise targets the larger outer muscle on your calves. While most gyms have a machine for them, it is a simple exercise you can do at home.
Start this exercise by standing on the first step of a staircase with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing forward.
Raise your body upwards by lifting off the step until you are extended on your toes. Pause for a couple of seconds before you slowly lower back down.
You can either do a set number of reps or continue to do them until start having a slight burning sensation in your calves. You can also do these while holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides for added resistance.
Seated Calf Raise
Many gyms have a seated calf raise machine that has weight plates that you can slide your thighs under. With this machine, you push off the front of your feet and raise your calves to push the weight plates higher.
If you don't have access to a machine you can sit on a bench with a barbell and weights across your thighs (use a towel for a cushion) or stand a pair of dumbbells on end on your lower thigh area.
It's important to do the seated and standing calf raises. Your calves have two different muscles, by doing the seated bent leg version as well as the standing straight leg one; you will target the smaller calf muscle (soleus) that can be more difficult to reach.
While squats are mainly for the upper legs, when done correctly they are a fantastic calf muscle exercise.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower your body to squat like you are going to sit in a chair.
When you reach the low point of your squat, extend yourself upward and jump in the air just six inches or so off of the ground, landing on the balls of your feet.
Continue to do the squat jumps for 10-12 reps.
Long favored by athletes, Jumping rope is considered an aerobic activity while still creating resistance to strengthen and tone the calf muscles. A good jump rope workout will exercise the full body and still target your calves.
Start out slow and slowly increase the pace. You want to try and jump for an extended period of time, bouncing off your toes.
To make it more challenging you can try to jump a little higher as you get into a rhythm, you can also jump with a weighted rope.
Less risk of injury - A survey found that calf pulls were the second most common injury for runners. These pulls usually occur through a sudden pushing motion or by over-stretching from jumping or changing direction suddenly. Properly strengthened calves will assist your running form to absorb any impact and give your stride better spring.
Aesthetic Look - Toned lower legs are a must. You don't want to be that guy or girl with small legs. Strengthening your upper legs and ignoring your calves will create an awkward look.
Balance and Stability - Strong calf muscles will stabilize your ankles and feet and contribute to steady balance for any moving efforts like walking, running, or jumping.
Cardiovascular Benefits - Walking hills , climbing stairs and jumping ropes are all great ways to not only keep your calves in shape, but also offers a number healthy heart benefits.
I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.