Top 5 Exercises For Strengthening Calves Muscles
Posted on October 27 2020
he calves, which make up the entire space of the posterior lower leg are one of the constantly active muscles involved in movement and balance. While we often focus on strengthening the thighs and glutes, most of us don’t pay much attention to calves.
Ignoring the calves muscles can compromise your muscular symmetry and lower body strength.
Top 5 benefits of having stronger calves’ include:
1. Strong calves are key to gaining power and explosiveness.
2. Propel you in strength-based movement.
3. Help stabilize and mobilize ankles.
4. Contribute to greater calf extensibility.
5. Help you achieve well-defined appearance.
Spending 20 minutes of dedicated, progressive calf workout will help you to quickly gain calf muscles, make them stronger, more conditioned and get the aesthetic and biochemical benefits they offer.
Here’s a list of comprehensive calves workout that can be performed anywhere, anytime and the best thing you won’t need any gym equipment.
Each of the exercises can be performed over repetitions of 3 sets of 12-15 counts.
Before we learn the different exercise pattern, let’s get brief info on the anatomy of the calf.
INFO ON THE CALF MUSCLE ANATOMY
The calf muscles are made up of two primary muscles – the gastrocnemius and soleus.
The gastrocnemius is well-defined, outwardly visible and highly developed muscle that bulges out of any pair of calves. It is composed of 2 different heads (medial and lateral) that together create a diamond shape when grown out.
The soleus is a long, flat muscle tissue that runs down the back of the leg. It is located underneath the gastrocnemius and is actually not visible.
Both gastrocnemius and soleus contribute to overall calf development.
1. STANDING CALF RAISE
This particular exercise contributes to overall stability, gives your lower leg a defined appearance. The exercise can be done standing and sitting version. The standing version primarily targets the gastrocnemius, increases ankle stability and can have a significant impact on our ability to pull more weight.
1. Stand tall with your abdominals pulled in, keep your toes pointed straight ahead and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Step up on an elevated surface with the ball of your feet on the elevated surface with your heel hanging off.
3. Raise your heels as high as possible and hold for a few seconds.
4. Now lower your heels back to the original position and repeat.
Note: This workout can be done without dumbbells, taking the support of a wall or a sturdy object for balance. You can perform with individual leg and alternate as per your convenience.
2. SEATED CALF RAISE
This variation of standing calf raise exercise is great for soleus isolation. This simple, easy to do exercise not only strengthens the calf muscles but also supports basic functions like walking and running.
1. Sit straight on a chair with your feet flat on the ground holding two heavy dumbbells on top of your knees. You can also use household items like gallon bottle or books in place of dumbbells.
2. Press through the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the ground and raising as high up onto your toes as you can. Hold the position as long as you can.
3. Gradually drop your heels back to the floor, keeping your core engaged.
4. You can place an object as a footrest as per indicated in the image or do it without that.
3. DOWNWARD DOG
1. Begin in a plank position with your hands underneath the shoulders and knees below your hips.
2.Maintain a firm line from shoulders to ankles, keeping your abdomen pulled in.
3. Pressing your palms firmly on the ground, tucking your toes, lift your knees from the plank position in a way that your body should form a triangle shape.
4. Elevate your body as far as possible until you feel the tension in your calves.
5. Get back to the starting position and repeat until you feel the calf muscle loosen.
6. Your core should be engaged throughout the exercise.
4. SQUAT WITH HEEL RAISE
1. Start in a squat position with your feet slightly apart and toes facing forward.
2. You can keep something in front of you if you’re concerned about balance.
3. Raise up on your toes while keeping your knees and hips straight.
4. Hold the position for a few seconds and slowly lower your heels back to the ground. Try to maintain your hip and knee angle when you lower your heels back down to the ground.
5. As you move from squat position to the upright elevated position, eccentric loading occurs in all three planes of motion.
6. Your abs should be kept tight, your back straight, and your knees in line with your toes.
5. BOX JUMP
This exercise works your lower body muscles, glutes, hamstrings and calves. The exercise helps build calf strength, power and endurance.
1. Find a box or a platform that is high enough for you to jump up to without stressing yourself. It is suggested not to hold weights while doing this exercise as it’s not safe.
2. With your hands-free, jump up on the box while swinging your arms in an upward motion.
3. Land on the box gently and jump back down to the floor.
What are you still waiting for? Get ready for the calf definition…train your calves a couple of times per week with 1-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions each exercise…
Don’t look for immediate results, keep your workout in progress, nourish your muscles and enjoy the fitness routine…
Also read: Stretching Exercises For Improved Fitness
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