Your calves are very important in the way your legs look. When you have toned calves, your legs look slimmer and your body looks taller. To tone your legs, you should use a higher rep scheme,which means reps higher than 12.
Unlike other parts of your body, your calves respond best to hypertrophy training, which focuses on tearing the muscle fibers so that they grow back stronger. Here are 7 great exercises that will workout your calf muscles.
Standing Calf Raises
To do this exercise,take a pair of moderately heavy dumbbells and roll your foot onto your tippy toes and back down.For this exercise you should go for reps from 12 to 15. Remember, your calf muscles respond better to higher reps.
If regular calf raises are too easy, try out single legged calf raises. To do these, simply do normal calf raises but keep one foot in the air. These are a little more advanced and you need to learn how to balance yourself. For this variation, you should start off with just your body weight and try to work up to weights later on.
Most gyms have stairmasters. If not any old staircase will do just fine. Spend 15 to 30 minutes going up on a stairmaster or staircase. You will definitely feel the burn in your calves. This exercise also works out your cardiovascular muscles so you can even replace your regular cardio routine with stair climbers.
There are different variations that you can start doing on the stairmasters if regular stair climbers become too easy. One variation that you can try out is the reverse stair climber. To do this exercise,lower the speed on the machine,hold onto the railings, and then start climbing backwards! Reverse climbers really work out your calf muscles and give them that nice toned look.
Squats are the foundation for building leg muscle. It is an incredibly effective compound exercise that works out your glutes, legs, and back. You can perform squats with just bodyweight or you can add weight with a barbell or dumbbells. Make sure you keep your back straight so that you do not hurt yourself.
For squats you can go for either high reps with low weight or low reps with high weight. For the basic barbell squats, you should go for sets of 8-12 with a higher weight. For different variations such as goblin squats or pistol squats, you should go for sets of 12-20 and really try to contract your calf muscles.
Jump roping is a fantastic exercise for your calves. This movement works out your legs, glutes, abs, forearms, and cardio. It even improves your hand-eye coordination! Spend 15 minutes jump roping before or after your workout and you will definitely feel the burn in your calves. This can be a great warmup or burnout to add to your daily gym routine.
If you do not own a jump rope, you can just move your hands in circular motion and jump with an imaginary jump rope. Jump roping is great because you can do it pretty much anywhere. You can even jump rope at home!
Go to a leg press machine and put your feet by the edge of the platform. Simply raise and lower your calves and really try to squeeze your muscles at the top. For this exercise do 20 to 25 reps. You will have to adjust the weight based on how much you can lift but a 25 lb plate on each side is a great place to start.
Lunges are great for your overall leg development. Simply step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Start doing lunges with just your bodyweight and eventually work up to using dumbbells. For this exercise you should be aiming for reps between 12 to 15 reps for each leg.
Just a nice and easy jog for 15-30 minutes per day can do wonders for your calves. When you run, keep your torso straight, your arms at a 90 degree angle,and focus on pushing up and off the ground behind you. Also, make sure that you wear a pair of high quality running shoes so that you don’t get injured.
If jogging is too easy for you, try out sprints!Explosive training is amazing for developing calf muscle. Start out with 5 sprints once a week and then work up to 15 sprints 3 times a week. Be careful when you do sprints and make sure you are warmed up properly before you start your explosive workout.
You can do this by using a foam roller on your legs or even going for a short jog. Implement sprinting into your workout and you’ll build some solid calf muscle.
These are 7 great exercises that are sure to tone your calves. You can even just take one or two of these exercises and add them to your current workout routine.