Are you bulky, toned, with abs of steel up top, but unable to get the same effect for your calves? Chances are you’re the guy that constantly gets called out for skipping leg day. Some of us really don’t care about the mismatch between legs and arms, figuring they’re never really seen. Then there are those of us who do try to get our calves in tip top shape, but are either stumped at what exercises to do or where to start.
You can find tons of articles on how to build muscle mass. There are hundreds more on proper eating, not including the millions of diet options found on the internet, and millions more on how to get the perfect abs. But when it comes to leg or calf exercises, it usually requires a lot more searching.
Move Your Legs
Something that we should already be doing is going for walks, jogs, and runs. You can tour your neighborhood, walk the dog an extra few blocks, or even walk/run/jog in place in your home. Anything that strains and gets your legs moving. The stairs in your home can be treated as built in exercise equipment. Go up and down a couple of times, if you’re not up to being outside. It’s important to work a little bit harder with every workout. Try including a Polar Loop into your walk, and track your steps and distance. Challenge yourself to go further and achieve more steps in the next walk. If you repeat the same routine, you won’t get the results you want.
Cycle a Lot
A bike is exercise equipment, and can usually be found in many households. If you have a sunny day, ride your bike to work for the day and leave the car at home. It’s a great way to target the muscles in your calves. Switching gears can heighten the intensity of your bicycle workout, as well as riding over hills and rougher surfaces like grass instead of pavement. Another advantage of biking is that you’ll save on gas.
Another great calf exercise is the calf raise. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, your back straight and your hands at your sides. Contract the calf muscles, while lifting your heels off of the ground so your weight is on your toes. Hold for a second, then release back to the floor.
Repeat for twenty raises, or until you can feel a sore strain in your muscles.
Seated Calf Raise
This is a workout that is necessary for the calf muscles to reach their maximum capacity. While this movement is similar to the standing calf raise, the seated calf raise will actually target the lower muscles of the calf. Sit with the machine pads resting on your thighs. Again, drop your heel to 2-4 inches depending on how flexible you are. Raise again and squeeze the calf muscles once you reach the top. The rep range for this workout, as well as the standing calf raise, should between 10 and 20 depending on the needs of your body and what you can tolerate.
We’re going to go back to the basics. Get yourself a jump rope and perform either timed sets or sets for a specific number of reps. Bounce on the balls of your feet and keep your ground contact time as short as possible. Make it a game, or a competition with the family. First see who can jump the longest. Another fun game is seeing who can get more jumps in.
When working on building muscle in the lower legs, it’s important to remember to take in the proper amount of nutrients and protein to sustain your exercises. Give your body the appropriate time to rest and recover between each workout session. Never push yourself beyond your daily limit. Damaged muscles don’t serve any purpose.