Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become an integral part of an all-around successful life. Regular workouts and smart eating habits are gaining popularity among a growing number of people. Men and women are working on their bodies trying to whittle their waist, grow a rippling six pack, plump up their booty and sculpt their arms. However, for some reason many people neglect their calves, which are equally as important for the health and attractiveness of their body. That is why we decided to put together the most popular calf exercises and useful tips that will make your workouts highly effective and your legs perfectly shaped. Let’s start.
What exercises make your calves bigger?
1. Jumping jacks
Stand with your arms at your sides and with your feet together. Jump, simultaneously spreading your legs outside shoulder width, and clap your hands above your head. Get back to the previous position.
2. Single calf raises
To perform this exercise you need a dumbbell and a weight plate. Sit down on a bench and place your toes on a weight plate. Now place a dumbbell on your right knee holding it with your right hand. Hold its top with your left hand. Then lift your toes as high as you can and make a pause. Get back to the starting position. After performing the necessary amount of reps start again with your left leg.
3. Single-leg calf raise
Stand on a step with your right leg and place your left leg around the back of the right one. Make your body sink towards the floor and start carefully stretching your calf. Then do a 1–second pause and raise your heel up. Make a 2-second pause. That’s a one rep.
4. Tip toe walk
This exercise is the simplest one. All you have to do is stand on your tiptoes and start walking. To activate your muscles fully it is better to perform this move barefoot.
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5. Box jumps
Stand in front of the box at a comfortable distance. Put your feet shoulder width apart. Quickly get into a position of a quarter squat, swing your arms and quickly jump on the box. Tense your core and leg muscles to land safely and softly. Then carefully step backwards off the box.
There are many other workouts that will help you to sculpt your calves, so you can the ones that are to your liking. As you can see, there are both zero-equipment exercises and those which demand dumbbells, blocks or a weight plate. However, you can try to replace them and work out even at home. For example, you can use a bottle of water instead of a dumbbell.
Apart from the calf exercises mentioned above there are many other methods that can help you to sculpt your calves. For example, regular walking, running, and hiking are perfect substitutes. These exercises not only help to tone your calves naturally but also reduce excess weight and improve your overall health. Jumping rope will strengthen your calves and support the health of your cardiovascular system. The same goes for step class, basketball, tennis and other sports where you have to run and jump.
A couple of tips for your success
- If you want to get the desired results in a short period of time, it is critical to perform 15-20 reps per one set of each exercise.
- For a better effect you can perform calf exercises without shoes. However, keep your socks on. By using this simple trick you’ll tense your muscles more and your calves will do all the work.
- Practice makes perfect. If you want to make your calves perfectly sculpted, you should give your calves as much attention as you give your biceps. – up to 20 reps, several sets.
- Make sure that you keep your feet straight while performing the calf exercises. Otherwise, you won’t get the desired effect.
What muscles are targeted?
There are two major muscles that make up your calves and are targeted during the calf exercises: the gastrocnemius muscle and the soleus muscle (4). The first one gives the calf its rounded shape, and the second one is located at the back of the lower leg and is mainly used for pushing off the ground while walking and running. It also helps to maintain posture. So, if you want to tone your calves, your main task is to target these particular muscles during your workouts.
In conclusion, there are numerous ways to sculpt your calves and make your body look even more gorgeous. However, it is crucial to realize that calf exercises are only half the battle. To gain muscle mass it is also essential to eat smart (2) and kick unhealthy habits. Make it a rule to support your overall health, reduce stress levels (1) and get enough high-quality sleep(3). As a result, these simple adjustments in your lifestyle will help you stay healthy and bring you closer to the body of your dreams.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. Therefore, it is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Chronic stress puts your health at risk (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Healthy diet (n. d., who.int)
- Sleep: The foundation for healthy habits (2018, mayoclinic.org)
- The Calf Muscle (Human Anatomy): Diagram, Function, Location (2019, webmd.com)