We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
For enviably strong calves, you'll need determination but not necessarily equipment.
Even if you're already toned and fit, seeing a pair of round, muscular calves in a pair of shorts might throw you into a wave of muscle-mass envy. The bulk of your calves comes from the large gastrocnemius muscle. The soleus muscle is deeper and less noticeable, but both need to be in good condition to give you well-built calves. Fortunately, you can build mass without equipment, using only your bodyweight for resistance. With warm-up, exercise and stretching, you'll lose the chicken legs and work toward bigger calves with minimum ache and injury.
Dynamic Warm-Up Stretches
Stand with feet hip-width apart and shift your weight to your right leg. Lift your left leg off the floor, bend your knee and swing it backward until your foot is level with your bottom. Swing your leg forward until it is parallel with the floor. Repeat 20 times, then switch legs.
Stand with your knees straight and bend forward at the waist until your fingers touch the floor. Walk your hands out in front of your body, supporting more and more bodyweight on your hands. Walk out with your hands until your body is parallel over the floor, then walk your hands back up until you are back to your starting position. Aim for five to seven repetitions to stretch your back, hamstrings and calves.
Stand up straight, feet hip-width apart, to begin skipping in place. Lift your right knee and left arm in the air. As you lift your knee, jump lightly once on your left foot. Repeat with your right foot on the ground and your left knee in the air. Lift your knees and arms as high as you can while you skip in place to warm up your arms and legs. This is especially beneficial for jumping squats and other calf workouts that require fast, explosive movement. Aim for 20 skips on each leg.
Building Your Calves
Stand up straight with feet hip-width apart to perform basic standing calf raises. Take a breath, exhale and press the balls of your feet into the floor to lift your heels as high as you can without losing your balance. Take a breath and exhale as you lower your heels back to the floor. Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 raises.
Stand in the beginning calf raise position. Lift your left foot off the floor, bend it behind you and support all of your weight to your right leg. Use a wall or counter for support if necessary as you lift your right heel off the floor. Slowly lower and repeat for three sets of 15 to 20. Switch legs and repeat on your left leg.
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart to begin explosive jump squats. While keeping your back straight, stick your bottom out and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees don't extend over your toes. Jump explosively into the air, using your calf muscles and bent knees to propel you upward. Land with your feet in the same position you began and immediately lower yourself back into a squat. Repeat for one set of 15. If you do this one right, you'll work up a nice sweat.
Move into a squat to prepare for forward linear jumps. Bend your knees deeper into the squat, until your heels begin to lift off the floor. Jump explosively forward, keeping your feet parallel to one another, and land 2 to 3 feet in front of where you began. Bend your knees deeply as your feet touch the floor, and push your heels into the floor to help absorb the impact. Repeat the jump as soon as you completely regain your balance. Perform one set of 10 to 15.
Perform at least 150 minutes a week of cardio exercise that incorporates weight-bearing leg work, such as running or elliptical exercise. Swimming and biking are both effective cardio exercises, but as they don't require you to support your own weight on your legs, the effects on the mass of your calves may not be as obvious.
Eat at least 60 g of protein a day if you're a man, and at least 50 g if you're a woman, to help build muscle mass. Try to get about 30 percent of your calories from protein.
Post-Workout Calf Stretching
Move into a pushup position to begin downward dog, a basic yoga position that helps stretch the back, arms, hamstrings and calves. Begin walking your hands back toward your feet until your bottom is pointed to the ceiling as your arms and legs form and upside-down "V". Try to push your heels toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your calf muscles. Breathe normally and hold for one to two minutes.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your hands on a wall in front of you. Take a step back with your right leg so that your feet are about 2 feet apart. Bend your left leg as you lean your arms and upper body forward and toward the wall. Keep your right leg straight and your right heel on the floor for a stretch through your hamstrings and calves. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute, then switch to stretch your left leg.
Sit on the floor -- or a mat -- with your legs straight out in front of you. Take a breath and exhale as you flex your toes toward you. If you're flexible enough to reach your toes, give them a helping hand. Place your hands on the balls of your feet and gently pull your toes toward you for a deep calf stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
Perform these exercises two to three times a week for best results.
You can hold a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand to provide additional resistance, but take caution when holding weights on jumping exercises as they may throw off your balance.
Several of these exercises require extensive bending of the knees and jumping movements. Consider talking to a healthcare professional before you begin a new leg exercise regimen, especially if you've had knee or leg-related health issues.