Bulky, Beautiful, Killer Calves

Wish your calves were to die for? With the right steps, you can go from common to killer calves.

Having good-looking calves improves your legs’ strength and appearance, giving you added confidence and athletic ability.

But if you’re like many people, you probably don’t spend much time working your calf muscles out. Sure, you run and do squats, but you rarely give your calves your undivided attention. Unfortunately, if you’re just bringing your calf muscles along for your exercise routine without pushing them, you’re missing out on what your calves can be.

What can you do to turn your everyday calf muscles into something to take notice of? It depends on your end goal.

For Bulk

If your goal is to bulk up your calves, you’ll want to squeeze in calf exercises three days a week, with a full day’s rest between each routine. Otherwise, they’ll wear down and won’t give you the growth you seek. Once you’re in the gym, use these exercises.

Donkey Up: With one of the most entertaining names in weight training, the donkey calf raise will give your calves an immediate boost. To get started, bend at the waist with your upper body resting on a table approximately the height of your knees and your toes resting on the edge of weight plates or a stable platform. In this position, have someone sit on your lower back and then raise yourself up on your toes, keeping your body bent over in an L shape.

Sit and Raise: Have a seat at the calf-raise machine with the pads resting above your knees on your upper thighs. From this position, lower your heels as close to the ground as possible and then raise your feet onto your toes as high as possible in a slow and methodical movement. Once you hit the pinnacle of the toe raise, pause, return to the starting position, and repeat.

I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box. – Betty Davis

Raise the Toes: Something like the opposite of a calf raise, toe raises can have a great impact on the size and shape of your calves. Stand with the heel of your feet on a stable platform or a weight plate. Then, rest a dumbbell across your left foot and lift your toes as high as possible, lower, and repeat.

After a few reps with your left foot, put the weight on the other foot and repeat. As with all exercises, do this in a controlled motion for maximum effectiveness and safety.

For Beauty

Prefer to keep your calves slim and trim? No problem. With a handful of exercises, you can have killer calves that won’t be bulging at the seams.

Jump Rope: Yep, one of your favorite childhood activities is also fantastic for your calves. Get in as much jump roping as often as you can, and you will feel the burn in your calves until it turns into the perfect shape you’ve been seeking. Just remember to make every jump work for you. In other words, if you’re going so slow that you’re jumping flatfooted, stop. It’s only helpful for your calves if you’re staying on your toes the whole time.

Run Faster: Long-distance running will certainly tone your legs, but short sprints seem to have a greater and more immediate impact on your calf muscles. So the next time you’re at the track, do a series of short sprints and stay on your toes the whole time. After a while, your legs will thank you with some great-looking calves.

Press It: The old-fashioned leg press machine at your local gym is good for all kinds of stuff when it comes to shapely legs. And if you use it properly, it can also tone your calf muscles. For maximum effect, you have two options. The first is to do the complete leg press motion with your toes resting where your heels would normally. By doing this, your toes push through the entire motion, working your calves constantly. For a different technique, perform a typical leg press with your feet in the normal position. At the top of the press, extend the pressing plate out using only your toes.

Make It Happen

Want to keep your body in tiptop shape every day of the year? Then you’re going to have to make some changes to how you operate. Try the following tips to maintain a healthy weight from now until this time next year:

  • get rid of fattening foods that are hard to resist
  • tell your loved ones what you’re doing and encourage them to get onboard
  • make your own food as often as possible
  • adopt an exercise routine that you can maintain
  • don’t get upset when you eat more than you should, but use it as a learning experience to avoid doing so next time
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