Best Calve Exercises for Growing Calf Muscles
Building strong calf muscles is an important component of a healthy physique. Strong calves help to prevent injury and to create the appearance of shapely, toned and powerful legs. We listed the best calve exercises later in the article.
The calf muscles are important muscles for overall strength and exercise abilities. Strengthening these muscles can help to prevent injury and to keep the back and legs aligned.
The calves help to keep your ankles sturdy and aid in keeping the knee and knee joints injury free as well. As such, getting strong calves is essential for overall health as well as contributing greatly to powerful, shapely looking legs.
Easy Best Calve Exercises For Beginners
The best calf exercises can be done with very little in the way of gym equipment. For instance the standing calf raise is a perfect way to increase calf strength and can be done wherever you are. Simply begin by standing straight and holding on to a chair or something in front of you.
You can also do it freestyle without holding on to a wall or anything else. Simply raise yourself onto your tiptoes and then come back down to the floor with your heels planted firmly on the ground. Repeat fifteen times, stretch and then repeat. By moving your body weight up and down like this you can add definition to your lower legs.
Other calf exercises can be done using the equipment at the gym. These include the barbell seated calf raise, the seated calf raise, the standing barbell calf raise, and the smith machine reverse calf raise, each of which will help target the calf muscles in different ways.
Follow the instructions on each machine carefully and be sure to move slowly and begin with a manageable weight. Calf muscles can be easily strained and you will need to work slowly to build these up.
Take Up Cycling
Another great calf workout is cycling. If you’ve ever noticed a professional cyler’s legs you’ll see powerful calf muscles without a doubt. Riding your bike just a few times a week can help to build strong legs, as well as a strong core and buttocks.
Opting for riding to work instead of taking to car or bus is a terrific way to get in a workout before and after work. This will certainly also increase your calf muscles and help you de-stress to boot.
Another terrific calf muscle builder is the Stairmaster. Like doing the calf raises this will quickly build up the lower leg. Some Stairmasters and elliptical trainers can be geared to target the calves specifically by lowering or raising the incline level. If these pieces aren’t up your alley than simply using an incline on the traditional treadmill will do much the same.
Best Calve Exercises to Add to Your Leg Day
Add these best calve exercises to your leg day routine to grow your calf muscles.
Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump and spread your legs outside shoulder width as you clap your hands overhead. Jump and return your hands and feet to the starting position.
Seated Calf Raise (Toes Out)
Use a seated calf raise machine or sit on a bench and rest the balls of your feet on a block or step (and hold dumbbells on your thighs for resistance). Your knees should be bent 90 degrees and your toes turned out about 15 degrees. Allow your heels to drift toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your calves. Now drive the balls of your feet into the platform and raise your heels as high as possible.
Perform jumping jacks but extend your arms out to your sides as you jump your feet out. When you jump back, clap your hands together in front of your body.
Seated Calf Raise (Toes Neutral)
Use a seated calf raise machine or sit on a bench and rest the balls of your feet on a block or step (and hold dumbbells on your thighs for resistance). Your knees should be bent 90 degrees and your toes pointing straight ahead. Allow your heels to drift toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your calves. Now drive the balls of your feet into the platform and raise your heels as high as possible.
Seated Calf Raise (Toes In)
Use a seated calf raise machine or sit on a bench and rest the balls of your feet on a block or step (and hold dumbbells on your thighs for resistance). Your knees should be bent 90 degrees and your toes turned inward 15 degrees. Allow your heels to drift toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your calves. Now drive the balls of your feet into the platform and raise your heels as high as possible.
Place your toes on a mat or block so they’re elevated above your heels. Bend one knee, pushing it forward so you feel a stretch in your calf. Draw your leg back, repeat for reps, then switch legs.
Single-Leg Calf Raise
Stand on a block or step with one leg, your weight resting on the ball of your foot. Wrap your free foot around the back of the working leg. Allow your body to sink toward the floor and stretch your calf. Hold for one second and then drive the ball of your foot into the surface as you raise your heel up. Hold the top position for two seconds.
Hole Calf Raise
Stand on the same elevated surface with feet shoulder width and toes turned out. Lower yourself into the bottom position of a squat (called “the hole”). Perform a calf raise, coming up as high as you can on the balls of your feet without extending your hips or legs.
Standing Calf Raise
Use a standing calf raise machine or stand on a block or step with a dumbbell in one hand while holding on to something for support with the other. Lower your heels toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your calves. Drive the balls of your feet into the foot plate and contract your calves, raising your heels as high as possible. Control the descent on each rep.
Seated Calf Raise Machine
Use a seated calf raise machine or sit on a bench and rest the balls of your feet on a block or step (and hold dumbbells on your thighs for resistance). Perform a calf raise as described above, but with hips and knees bent 90 degrees.
Lateral Lunge to Curtsy
Stand holding or plate or dumbell, or perform without weight. Step your right foot out to the side, as you hinge your hips back, and come into a lateral lunge. Push off this foot and rise to standing, then immediately bring your right leg into a curtsy lunge, drawing it behind your lunge. Alternate legs.
Place a Bosu dome-side down. Carefully stand on the ball and get your balance. Slowly lower into a squat under control.
Help For Tight Calf Muscles
One of the uncomfortable consequences of exercise is developing pain in the muscles which leaves you feeling sore and restricted. Common examples of this are tight calf muscles, for these muscles undergo considerable tension and they tend to restrict the movements of the legs. The calf muscles which typically account for the stiffness are called the soleus and gastrocnemius.
It is perfectly normal to experience mild pain or stiffness in this area, and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. However, having said that, it is a problem which should be recognized, for the pain will simply worsen if one continues to exercise or try to overcome the stiffness and go running. There is a certain point where the calf muscle will become so severely strained that it will require medical attention, but for the most part calf pain in the calf can be treated at home through various remedies that will alleviate the tension in the muscle.
How Tightness Happens In Muscles
Tightness in the calf, and other muscles, can often be caused by poor blood circulation. It can also be the result of compartment syndrome, which occurs when the muscle becomes too large for the surround area. For the relative minor cases of calf stiffness, massage oils and compressions are usually quite effective.
The first thing you ought to do is to try stretching the afflicted muscle gently. Then wrap up some ice cubes in a rag and apply to the calf. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, dehydration is a very common cause of muscle stiffness and cramping, so just drinking enough water will go a long way to relieving the symptoms. Adding some lemon juice to the water will add to the effectiveness.
Remember that one of the key problems is lack of circulation, so continue to stretch the calf and try rubbing gently. There are many lotions and rubs on the market which are specifically designs for muscle injuries and can be very helpful for stiff muscles.
However if the pain persists and no home remedies seem to be helping, there are also many pain medications which will help.
Though pain medications should generally be avoided and used only if necessary, there are muscle relaxants and pain killers which will at least let you forget about your pain and perhaps feel more comfortable. Be sure not to exert your calf muscle while on pain killers, not feeling the pain often leads people to think that they can begin to exercise again, which will often lead to further damage and an even longer recovery period.