The calves are composed of two major muscles: gastrocnemius and the soleus. Both muscles run down the back of the lower leg. The bulbous gastrocnemius sits on top of the soleus. It’s the smaller, rounded bundle of muscles that form at the back of the leg. The soleus is a longer, wider bundle of muscles under the bulbous gastrocnemius.
Tight or weak calves won’t just ruin your form, it could also lead to injuries related to training. In addition, the calf muscles extend from the leg all the way to the foot. Toning these muscles are important to perform a variety of sports. So train those calves if you want to maximize your shape and performance.
Don’t think calf training is all about using weight. You can achieve toned and powerful calves without weight training. In today’s post, we are listing down calf exercise to help you get started:
Find a step that’s about 4 inches off the ground. Stand back with the back half of your foot hanging off a step. Slowly, lower your heels two inches. Stand on the balls of your feet by pressing yourself up. Pointing the toes in will engage the inner calves while pointing the toes out will activate the outer calf. Now, repeat 20 times, that’s one set. Do two sets to tone the calves.
Lunge pulses will tone the soleus muscle. This muscle can only contract fully at a 30-degree angle.
Start by standing straight, feet together. Keep the arms by the sides and step forward into a lunge with your left foot. Bend the leg at 90-degrees at the knee, extend your right leg behind you by bending the knee. Then, pulse up so that the right leg is straight. Bend to complete one pulse and repeat 15 times on each side.
This workout will tone both major muscles that make up the calves. The explosive movement will strengthen the muscles and keep the heartbeat up.
Lower yourself into a pushup position. Bend the right knee then bring the right foot between your hands. The foot should be planted firmly on the floor. Now, with your hands flat on the floor, jump to switch the legs, straightening the right leg behind and bringing the left leg between the knees. Increase the tempo for a minute.
This is an extremely easy exercise with lots of benefits for the calves. The movement will engage both calf muscles as well as other muscle groups. It’s also the best cardio workout out there.
Start by jumping with both feet for a full minute. Land on the balls of your feet in a controlled movement. Now start jumping rope for at least three minutes. Finally, mix things up by performing double passes or crossovers.
Always add calf stretches to your routine. These exercises will prevent injuries. They will also protect the elastic muscles from the shock of other calf workout. Get a flexibility band, sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Loop the band over your flexed feet and pull back slowly. If you don’t have a flexibility band, use a towel instead.