Where would you be without your legs and calf muscles? Probably in the same place you were a few minutes ago. Our calves are one of the most important muscles in our bodies, and they serve multiple purposes and functions. Because we use our calf muscles every day, it is important that we incorporate calves workout routines into our regular exercise regimes to keep our calf muscles strong and flexible. Not to mention that lean calves look pretty darn sexy in shorts.
Importance of Exercising Calf Muscles
Our calves are made up of two muscles: the fastrocnemius and the soleus. We use these muscles to do things like walking up the stairs, raising our bodies off a chair, and running.
- Incorporating calf stretches and exercises to your daily routine will keep both the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles flexible and in prime shape.
- Most calf exercises and stretches require no special equipment.
- Weak of inflexible calf muscles can be dangerous for both athletes and non athletes.
- Weak calf muscles can lead to ruptures in the Achilles tendon, which connects your heel bone and helps you shift your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Sedentary calf muscles that are not exercised regularly can contribute to irregular blood flow in a person’s legs.
Exercise 1: Sitting Exercise
- Find a chair and sit down with your back straight and your legs bent and firmly placed into the floor. Ensure that the weight is evenly distributed between both of your legs.
- Dig your feet into the floor with your toes. Using your toes, lift the back of your feet up off of the floor while keeping your toes pressed firmly into the ground. Pause in this position for about two seconds, and then relax and place your feet back into the ground.
- Aim for about 30 to 40 repetitions on each leg. You can switch between legs or do one leg at a time.
- If you need more of a challenge for this exercise, you can add weight but placing a 5 pound dumbbell on each of your quadriceps.
- Remember to stretch the muscles in your calves after you perform this routine. To strengthen your calf muscles overtime, do this exercise about 3 to 4 times a week each month.
Exercise 2: Calf Press Machine
If you have a gym member, then a calf press machine is a good way to stretch and strengthen your calf muscles with a calves workout.
- Start off on the calf press machine at the gym using no weight. Use the no-weight option to stretch out the muscles in your calves.
- Once you have stretched out, adjust the weight on the machine to something a bit more challenging to strengthen your muscles.
- Begin your calves workout with slow and concentrated movements. Pause at the end of these exercises and to make sure that your calves are tightened and engaged.
- Incorporate both positive and negative resistance levels into your workout to give your calves the intensity that they need.
- Aim to do a calves workout on the calf press machine at the gym for about 5 minutes, working through 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each leg.
Exercise 3: Jump Rope
Nope, using a jump rope is not just for children. Jumping rope is a great way to strengthen your calf muscles as well as all the other muscles in your legs.
- Start your jump rope exercise at a slow pace in efforts to warm up your entire body. Do a slow-paced consistent jump for about 3 minutes.
- Once you feel your leg muscles are warmed up, start jumping at a faster pace.
- To make the most out of your calves workout, try landing on the balls of your feet. This is going to help engage your calves.
- Aim to jump rope at this faster pace for about 5 minutes.
- Cool your body down after you jump rope by walking in place for a few minutes to bring down your heart rate.
Exercise 4: Lunge Pulses
This different type of lunge exercise is going to help you develop your soleus muscle, which is a part of your calf muscle that we mentioned earlier.
- Get into a standing position with your arms at your sides and step forward into a lunge with your right foot.
- Bend your right leg at a 90 degree angle and keep your left leg extended behind you with your knee bent.
- While your right leg is bent, pulse your body up so that your left leg is straight. Bend to complete one full pulse.
- Pulse up and down about 15 times for each leg.
Exercise 5: Mountain Climbers
Mountain Climbers are going to strengthen your entire leg muscle, and the jumping movement will provide a workout for your calves.
- Get into a push-up position and bend your right knee while bringing your right foot forward in between your hands. Keep your foot planted on the floor the entire time.
- With your hands still in a push-up position, jump up and switch your legs.
- Straighten your right leg out from behind you and bring your left leg up in between your knees.
- Repeat this exercise as fast as you can for about one minute.
Exercise 6: Stretches
Stretching is important before or after any form of exercise to help prevent injury and strengthen your muscles.
- With a towel or flexibility band, sit on the ground with both your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Loop your band around your feet and pull the band back as far as possible.
Stretching your calf muscles is going to soften your muscles so that the shock and impact of running will be felt less.
Exercise 7: Box Jumps
Box jumps are going to provide some serious tone and explosive strength for your leg muscles.
- Find a sturdy box that can hold your weight. Stand in front of the box on the balls of your feet and with your toes in front of the box. Make sure that the box is height appropriate.
- Jump up onto the box and land on your toes and the balls of your feet.
- Now, jump back down onto the floor.
- Do these jumps about 8 to 10 times. Until you are more experienced, do not try using any dumbbells or hand weights while you jump, as you may need to keep your hands free to catch yourself in the scenario of a lost grip.
Importance of Diet with Exercise
In addition to working out and performing the above calves workouts, it is important that you pay attention to the other areas and aspects of your life as well – most notably: your diet.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before or after any workout
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to give yourself the energy you need to work out. Fruits and veggies will also provide you with the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
- Incorporate protein rich foods into your diet, such as: beans, eggs, white meat, fish, nuts, and low-fat dairy.
Strong calf muscles will get you far. Because your calves are one of your primary muscles, it is important that you incorporate a calves workout into your exercise routine at least 3 to 4 times a week to keep your calves defined and muscular. For secrets on how to get your calves looking ripped and strong, enroll in this leg course taught by a fitness professional and start developing and strengthening your calves, today.