Calf muscles: a lesser mentioned area of the body that is actually quite vital. There are two basic muscles in the calves, the gastrocnemius and soleus. Their strength, or lack thereof, largely impacts the well-being of the ankles and plays a huge role in aiding the maintenance of balance and functionality in walking, running, biking, and various other activities that include leg use. Not to mention that they can also take a toll on a person’s posture, especially as they age.
So basically, your calves are a pretty big deal, and that’s why it is so important to learn how to care for them and maintain their strength. Below are the top five moves help give your calf muscles the attention they so desperately need.
1. Jump Rope
Who would have thought that every adolescent girl’s pastime would be there perfect workout for your calves? We’re sure you are already pretty familiar with how to do this, so we won’t go into detail. For a more effective and intensive calf workout though, try to land on the balls of your feet rather than your whole foot, and jump rope quickly. Also, don’t forget to start off slow – we’re sure you don’t jump rope regularly anymore, and it will help to warm up the calves for the workout.
2. Box Jumps
Another seemingly easy exercise to try out is the box jump. This calf muscle workout is literally what it says it is – jumping off of and back onto a box. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing the box from a distance to your liking. Then all you have to do is jump – drop into a quick squat, and jump back up, landing on the box. To come down you will simply jump down from the box (but try to come down like a cat; that is, be light on your feet) and repeat the process. That’s all there is to it! It is not recommended that you use dumbbells or any other sort of weighted objects with this calf workout; doing this may increase the likelihood and intensity of injury.
3. Resistance Band Toe Flexes
Strengthen your calves while sitting on the floor with a resistance band. Start by keeping one leg extended in front of you, and wrap the band around the ball of your feet. Then grip each end of the band with your hands. gripping each end with your hands. Pull the ends toward your torso to create tension. Then, keeping your leg straight and pointing your foot vertically out, press or flex the ball of your feet away from you using the resistance band. You should feel tension in your calf. Control your foot back to the starting position and repeat. Switch legs once you are finished with the set.
4. Dumbbell Calf Raises
Begin standing while holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. Raise your heels off the floor as you exhale by contracting the calves and end standing on your tippy toes. Pulse four times, then lower for one rep.
5. Platform Calf Raises
Most gyms have Smith Machines on which you can perform standing calf raises, but a simple bench or stair will do. With your toes on the platform and the rest of your foot, a.k.a, your heels off the edge, press up onto your tippy-toes and slowly lower your foot back down below the stair as far as you can without sliding off. For added resistance, combine with dumbbell calf raises.