To have a balanced lower body, then you must work hard for well-developed calves. Most people consider their calves one of the most challenging muscle groups to train. Strong calves help you build power and improve explosiveness along with aesthetic appeal.
Calf muscles are crucial because they connect the knees to the ankles, and most leg movement depends on them. Many of you must be wondering how you can build and strengthen your calf muscles. This curiosity has brought you to the right place. Scroll through this article to learn more about developing strong calf muscles.
The lower leg's posterior (back) side contains the calf muscles. This muscle group comprises two muscles, namely, gastrocnemius and soleus. Being the largest of the two calf muscles, gastrocnemius is the thicker section of the calf. This muscle is involved in foot plantar and knee flexion. On the other hand, the soleus is a smaller muscle that helps with plantar flexion. Along with other leg muscles, the calf muscles play a crucial role in how a person walks, runs, stands, and leaps. Thus the calf muscles are vital for everyday life as well as performance-based activities.
5 Killer Exercises for Calf Muscles
This article lists five killer exercises you can include in your leg day routine to improve your calf muscles. These exercises will help you to reduce calf pain by stretching & strengthening your calf muscles. For this article, we decided to opt-out from listing the most obvious gym-based exercises (standing and seated calf raises, donkey calf raises, etc.).
- Jumping Jack
How to do:
Stand straight with your feet together and arms by your sides. Gently bend your knees and jump. Spread your legs and swing your arms out over your head while jumping. Maintain your arms and legs in the extended position while landing. Then, jump again to your starting position while lowering your arms. You can continue this for 30–60 seconds. Try to complete three sets, and have a rest after each. Remember to keep your arms straight while swinging them out.
- Banded Marching with Calf Raise
How to do:
Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a resistance band around your feet. Raise your right knee as high as you can while lifting the ball of your left foot. Bring your right leg and left foot down, and repeat these steps with the opposite leg. Try to complete 15 reps with each foot and three sets. Initially, do this exercise without using a resistance band till you find your balance.
- Dumbbell Jump Squat
How to do:
Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell horizontally at chest height with both hands. Lower down to a squat position until your thighs become parallel to the floor. From this position, burst into a jump by pushing off with your legs. Land into the squat position with knees slightly bent and lower your back gently. Complete three sets of 15 reps and have a rest after each group.
- Jump Rope
How to do:
Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the handles of a jump rope by your sides and bend your elbows in toward your hips. Swing the rope over your head by rotating your wrists. As the rope passes by your feet, jump over it. Continue jumping for 30–60 seconds or complete 50 jumps. Try to complete three sets and have a rest after each set. Try a speed rope or a weighted rope for an added challenge.
- Seal Jump
How to do:
Stand straight with feet together and arms by your sides. Jump with your knees bent and separate your legs wider than shoulder-width apart. Simultaneously, raise your arms to your sides, parallel to the floor. Jump again while bringing your feet back together and clap with your hands by bringing them out in front of you. Continue these jumps as fast as possible for 30–60 seconds and complete three sets. Finally, try jumping without lowering your heels to activate your calves more.
So if you are planning to build better calf muscles, you can add the above exercises to your workout routine. If you are interested in more such exercises to improve your fitness, visit us at American Sports & Fitness Association.