No matter if you want powerful calf muscles because they make you look strong and athletic, or if you want them because you want to improve your sports performance and your vertical leap, you can add size and strength to your calves simply by making it a priority.
These calf exercises are guaranteed to turn your bird legs into oak trees in no time flat!
Calf raises are the classic exercise for the lower leg. They build the gastrocnemius — which is that lump of muscle just below the back of your knee — and help with your sports performance too.
To do a set of calf raises, simply hold a weight and rise up on your tip-toe. You’ll feel your calf contracting as you hold the position for a second or two.
To add some intensity, stand with your heel hanging off a step, then allow yourself to sink down as far as you can comfortably go. This will increase the range of motion and make your calf raises even more effective. Be sure not to over-stretch your lower leg.
Seated Calf Raises
While regular, standing calf raises are great for bulking up the gastrocnemius, they don’t do very much for the soleus muscle lower down on the back of the lower leg. To work this muscle, do some seated calf raises.
While in a chair, put a weight on your thigh, then lift your heel off the floor. You should be able to feel your lower leg working as you perform your reps.
This exercise is easier at a gym which is equipped with a seated calf machine, but you can still get a good workout at home with nothing more than a chair and some weight.
So you don’t really want to wear yourself out with dumbbells and calf raises? Then maybe skipping rope is what you need.
This exercise is fantastic for overall development of the lower leg, and it also improves your coordination and endurance.
If you’re the type that values muscular endurance over brute strength, then jump rope is right up your alley. And even if you’re not, it’s still a valuable skill to have because it’ll give you a great cardio workout that you can do inside, or anyplace you like.
Something as simple as stair climbing (or stair running, if you’re hardcore) is guaranteed to build powerful calves without any equipment. And the great thing about it is, it’s a functional exercise. A few weeks of regular stair climbing training and you’ll never want to use an elevator again.
Regular, slow-speed stair climbing favors the soleus muscle, and high-speed stair running favors the gastrocnemius muscle, but no matter how you do the exercise, your calves and your entire lower leg will get a fantastic workout.
Try skipping a step for an even more intense fitness routine. It’ll make your calves burn like they’re on fire, but the results will be well worth it.