If you look down at your legs and gasp in disbelief at your skinny calves, it’s time to take action and increase the size of these vital muscles. However, perhaps the opposite is true for you. Maybe you believe your calves look a bit flabby. Perhaps you want to strengthen and contour your calf muscles for a chic, slim appearance when you wear shorts, skinny jeans, and tall boots.
Dedicated calf exercises each week will add mass to your lower legs and help you maintain your balance, walk with stability, sprint faster, and improve your strength in daily life and sports.
Calf Muscle Anatomy 101
Did you know that your calves actually consist of two groups of muscles?
- Gastrocnemius –This is the outermost muscle. If you have incredibly muscular calf muscles, the gastrocnemius may appear diamond-shaped.
- Soleus – Situated just beneath the gastrocnemius, the soleus muscle gives your calf its overall shape.
If you want to optimize the size and strength of your calf muscles, there are specific exercises you can do to increase the mass of the gastrocnemius and soleus.
Best Calf Exercises to Increase Mass
Regardless of your fitness level, we will help you discover movements that develop calf muscles you can be proud of showing off.
These are four of the best calf exercises to get you started. Most of these calf muscle exercises require no special equipment, so you won’t have to do these calf exercises at a gym.
1. Standing Calf Raises
- Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise your heels off the floor while also keeping your core tight and your shoulders back.
- Pause at the top, then bring your heels back to the ground.
- Start with two sets of 15 repetitions.
You can start with sitting calf raises and work your way up to standing. Then, as you get stronger, add dumbbell weights for more intensity.
2. Bent Knee Calf Raises
This is one of the best calf exercises to focus on the soleus and can even help you with balance.
- Stand with your toes pointed forward with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slightly bend your knees so that they are in a partial squat position.
- Raise your heels slowly, as high as possible, while pressing the balls of the feet into the ground.
- Pause in this position, and slowly lower back down.
Remember that your knees should remain bent throughout the entire movement.
3. Jump Squats
This calf-building workout can be done pretty much anywhere. Plus, this exercise helps to develop your calf muscles quickly.
- Position yourself as if you are getting ready for a standard squat.
- Lower your body into the squat.
- Once you’re at your lowest point, propel yourself up and explode upward into a jump.
- Move immediately into another squat once you land on the balls of your feet.
This is another one of the calf muscle exercises where you can add dumbbells as you get stronger.
4. Box Jumps
Plyometric exercises can be especially beneficial if you’re already in pretty good shape. Like the Jump Squat, this leaping activity will improve your calves’ power.
- Set a box appropriate to your limitations. Take precautions and start with a low-level soft box. When you first attempt box jumps, you should have a trainer by your side.
- Stand with your toes in front of a box.
- Jump onto the box and land again on your toes and the balls of your feet.
- Jump back down to the floor for 8 to 10 reps.
This is one exercise where you do not want to use dumbbells or other hand-held weights.
Work with a Trainer
To build, tone, and increase the mass of your calves, focus on activities that challenge these muscles to work against resistance. However, doing too much training, or worse yet, doing calf muscle exercises incorrectly, can quickly lead to injury. That’s why it is important to work under the guidance of a fitness professional, especially as you get started.
Fit Body Boot Camp (FBBC) offers a simple, science-based approach to building muscle and losing fat. In addition, we provide expert guidance to ensure you take the proper steps to avoid getting hurt.
Get Started Now!
At FBBC, we understand your goals, whether you want to increase your calf mass, improve strength, or optimize your overall well-being. Our supportive and affordable small group workout classes will inspire you. In addition, you’ll get loads of positive support from coaches and your peers that will keep you coming back.
Visit your local Fit Body Boot Camp today and see the difference. There is no risk! We offer FREE Fat-Burning Workouts to get you started.