Calf muscles are important muscles that help you to jump, walk, run, climb the trails and work the pedals of your car or bicycle. There are actually two groups of muscles that are considered your calves: the gastrocnemius and soleus. Having calf muscles that are strong and toned is important for men and women alike. The exercises to tone your calves are simple, making it easy to stay in shape for the trails.
Dumbbell Calf Raises
Stand with your legs roughly hip distance apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inward, arms hanging at your sides. Choose a dumbbell weight that you are comfortable with and that doesn't cause too much strain. Quickly raise up on to your tiptoes and, while strongly flexing your calf muscles, hold for one count before returning to a flat-foot position. Repeat this motion until your calves are too tired to continue.
Increase the intensity of this exercise by standing with the balls of your feet on the edge of a stair and your heels hanging over the edge. Lower and raise as before.
Seated Calf Raises
The simplest way to do this exercises is using a seated calf machine at your local gym. Place an appropriate amount of weight on the machine and sit down with your toes on the correct platform. Raise your toes and flex your calf muscles. Hold for one count, then return to your starting position and continue this movement until your calves are too tired to continue.
If you don't have a gym, do this at home by sitting on a chair and resting weights across your thighs. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and your back straight. Raise and lower your legs by flexing and extending your calf muscles.
Squats can be done at the gym or at home. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and squat down as if you are sitting in a chair. Keep your eyes looking forward and do not let your knees extend past your toes. Squat down and hold for one count before returning to a standing position.
For an increased workout, include weights in your hands or a barbell across your shoulders.
Jumping rope offers double benefits since it is a cardiovascular exercise as well as a calf-building exercise. Try to jump for 20 minutes, but build up to it if you can't jump that long initially. Stay on your toes as much as possible while jumping and include double jumps in your workout when possible.
Article Written By William Jackson
William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.