If you’re putting together your summer fitness regimen, and are looking for calf exercises to add to your routine, you’ve come to the right article! I’ve spent hours at the gym with my trainer, and hours at home, toning my legs, and after a lot of experimenting (and soreness!), I know what works, and what doesn’t. Here are 8 exercises for perfect calves… lace up your trainers, and let’s go!
1. Single-leg Calf Raises
According to my personal trainer, this is one of the best exercises for calves. You’ll be surprised how sore you are after the first day, so be prepared! Stand on one foot (the other bent at the knee behind you), then slowly roll from your flat foot to almost your tip toes. You don’t want to stand ON your tip toes, but close! Then slowly roll back to the flat of your foot. Start with 2 sets of 12 for each foot… then gradually increase from 12 to 20, then to 30.
2. Calf Raises
Double the single-leg calf raises, and you can tone both of your calves at once! If you don’t quite have the balance for it, no worries… hold on to the back of a chair til you get it. Try for 2 sets of 20, if you can… work up to 2 sets of 30. I like to do these standing in line at the grocery store or at the bank. What a great way to sneak in your calf exercises!
Want toned calves, legs, and bootie? There’s nothing better than squats! The key is to do them while maintaining proper form; your knees should never extend beyond your toes, and you should never really lean forward. Make a sitting motion, then come back up without bouncing. For balance, extend your arms out in front of you. There! That’s one! Now complete 2 sets of 12. Whew!
Aside from giving you stellar toned butt and thighs, lunges are another exercise for calves as well. Do 2 sets of 12 standard lunges (front), then mix it up by doing 2 sets of 12 right-side lunges and 2 sets of 12 left-side lunges. If you can, try doing 2 sets of 12 back lunges, too… I can never do these… balance!
5. BOSU Ball Squats
As if squats themselves weren’t challenging enough, right? Combining a squat with the BOSU ball works your legs and core, because you’re straining to keep your balance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart onto of a BOSU ball with a pole for support. Do the squat move, then use the pole to help you stand back up. Wow… this is hard! Do two sets of 12.
Running is marvelous cardio, but it’s also great for your legs and calves! If you want toned calves, get a good pair of trainers and walk, jog, or run. Aim for five days a week, about half an hour for best results.
7. Do Yoga
Yoga is fantastic for stress relief, balance, pain management, strength, flexibility and agility… and yoga is another great exercise for calves. I like doing the Tree pose, then extending from the flat of my foot to my toes… sort of a calf raise, right?
8. Try Ballet!
Think about it: in several ballet poses, you’re on your toes, in similar stances to yoga poses and even calf raises. If you want great legs, ballet is an excellent exercise for calves. Enroll in a beginner class, or just buy a ballet-at-home DVD, and for even more fun, try it with your kids!
See? There are so many exercises for calves, and most of them don’t even involve extra gym time! I love that you can do most of these at home, or even standing in queue. Which of these calf exercises do you think you’ll try first? Or, if you’ve already tried some, which are your faves? Do tell!