The calf muscles can be exercised with a large variety of exercise routines that will increase athleticism. Hiking and running are two of the simplest methods of increasing strength and endurance in the calf muscle but more focused exercises are also beneficial. Exercising the calf muscles on a regular basis will build strength and endurance for hiking, biking and running.
Calf raises are very simple and can be performed in several ways. The basic calf raise requires you to stand flat on your feet and repeatedly use your calf muscles to raise your heels off the ground. To increase the range of motion, do calf raises on a stair-like surface. Hold dumbells at the same time to increase the weight load.
You can also perform calf raises on a single leg at a time to increase the weight and focus your energy on a single calf muscle. Machines allow you perform calf raises in a seated position and control the weight load. Calf raises are the most common calf exercise and are very effective for increasing strength and muscle size.
Plyometrics use explosive movements to exercise the entire body. Box jumps, vertical jumps, side jumps and numerous other plyometric exercises will increase the strength of your calf muscles and train the muscle to make athletic movements. Athletic movements require a the athlete to react quickly and move in any direction.
Plyometric exercises are popular with athletes who train for speed and strength and require anaerobic movements in their sport. Anaerobic movements use short bursts of energy at a high level of intensity and are beneficial for short-distance trail running and making a strong finish in any race.
Plyometric routines are very intense and must be practiced and performed under supervision to prevent injury. Routines include a combination of box jumps, jumping rope, side jumps, ladder sprints and clapping push-ups done without rest between sets. The routines should take less than 30 minutes.
Running and Walking
Running, walking and hiking are all effective calf exercises. The movements require the calf muscle to function at a constant pace and are ideal for building endurance. Running and walking at an incline will work different sections of the muscle, and hiking up and down steep terrain will build strength and endurance simultaneously. Begin at a slow pace and do short distances. You can gradually increase the pace and distance as your muscles become trained for the exercise.
Article Written By Zach Lazzari
Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Colorado-mountain-adventure.com. Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.