Whenever someone thinks about workouts or exercises to get strong, they hardly think about calf exercises. In fact, the calf is one of the most overlooked parts of the body. But what most people don't know is that calves play a vital role in every leg movement and reduce the risk of serious injuries. Not just this, strong calves are also associated with some health benefits. For instance, it is noticed that people who perform calf exercises have a low plaque in arteries, stronger skeletal muscle, and an optimal resting heart rate. Therefore, it is crucial that you must focus on calf workouts in your gym. A calf muscle workout aims to target two muscles that form your calf: The gastrocnemius muscle that gives your calf the rounded shape and the soleus the muscle underneath the gastrocnemius that gives strength to your calf.To help you out, we have listed down some of the best and easy calf exercises you can try. You can also perform these calf exercises at home. Read on:
5 Best Calf Exercises
Single-Leg Calf Raise
A popular variation of calf raises exercise, single-leg raise is useful in building your calves. It not only improves the strength of both your calves but also trains the body in having better balance and stability on one foot. Calf stretches are good even for your daily activities such as stepping on stairs or going up a curb. How to do it?
- To do a single-leg raise, start by standing on your feet having shoulder-wide distance between both.
- Now, raise your left foot and bend the knee to form a 90-degree angle.
- As you keep your left leg lifted, rise up onto the ball of the right foot.
- Hold the position at the top and squeeze your calf muscle.
- Return your lower back down to the ground.
- This is one rep. Do 15 reps on each side.
Double-Leg Calf Raise
In this variation of calf raises exercise, you have to raise both your legs instead of one. Such calf exercises focus on both Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles. You also improve your core stability and balance of the body with such calf stretches. How to do it?
- Begin by standing straight on both your feet on the edge of a step.
- Now, raise your heels by pressing up against your toes. Contract your calf muscles. Only the balls and toes of your feet should be on the platform.
- Hold this position for a while.
- Now, slowly lower the heels to the starting position. This is one rep.
- Perform it 4 or 5 sets of six to ten reps, with a minute rest between each set.
Seated Calf Raise
The seated calf raise is usually performed while targeting the calve muscles in the lower leg, especially the soleus muscles. This is one of those calf workouts that are done at moderate to high reps. However, you must keep your repetitions in calf exercises controlled and limit the depth of your heels if there is too much stress to avoid injury. How to do it?
- Sit straight on the edge of a box or a chair holding a dumbbell in each of your hands. Your feet should be flat on the ground.
- Put the dumbbells on the top of your thighs.
- Engage your core and lift the heels up the ground as high as possible. Only the balls of your feet should be on the ground.
- Pause for a while and lower down our heels.
- This is one rep and you should try to do 15 reps at least in your calf workouts.
Jumping jacks or star jumps is a great addition to your calf workouts. They are not just easy legs exercises but also calf exercises. To make it intense, increase the speed, reps, and sets. You will be surprised by the benefits of such stretching exercises. Jumping jacks are good for losing weight, boosting the release of feel good hormones, relaxing limbs, improving flexibility, toning muscles and the list goes on. How to do it?
- Stand straight with your arms at the sides and shoulder-wide distance between your feet.
- Now, simultaneously raise your arms up over the head. While you do this, jump on your feet out so that they are slighting more than shoulder-width apart.
- Do not stop and reverse the movement.
- This is one rep. Do 15 reps.
The Downward Dog
If you are looking for calf stretches in yoga poses, the downward dog pose is for you. Also known as Adho Mukha Svanasana, this is one of the most effective calf stretching exercises you can easily do at home. It also stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the arms, legs, and back. The downward dog is also beneficial in relieving back pain and stabilizing the spine. How to do it?
- Start from coming onto your all four limbs.
- Lift knees to make your legs straight.
- Slowly, take two steps backward and move your hands a little forward to create a V position of your body.
- Let your head hang and move your shoulder blades away from the ears.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds and then release.
Some other calf exercises you can perform are:
- Jump rope
- Dumbbell jump squat
- Standing wall calf stretch
- Farmers walk on toes
- Seal Jump
These calf exercises can be easily done both at home. All you need is time, a few pieces of equipment, and calf exercises videos. Things To Keep In Mind, Whether you are an expert or performing calf muscle exercises for the first time, there are some precautions and measures you must keep in mind. These include:
- Do not perform such calf stretches if you have a wrist injury or Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Pregnant women are also advised to avoid such calf exercises.
- If you experience pain after doing calf muscle exercises and it persists for a long time, talk to a doctor.
- Always do a warm-up before starting calf exercises.
- Do not put too much pressure on the calves during calf muscle exercises as it can lead to injury or sprains.
Now that you know about calf stretching exercises, it is time to include them in your daily workout.
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