Turning heads in your heels is easier when your calves are sleek, toned and well defined. There's a variety of calf exercises to choose from, allowing you to incorporate your calves into existing moves or single them out. Targeting your calf muscles as part of your exercise routine helps shape them, but don't give up your cardio. Losing those last few stubborn pounds can get rid of the fat that's keeping your defined muscles from shining through.
Changing your heel position during calf raises makes sure all sides of your calves become equally defined. Stand on a step with your heels hanging off and your toes straight forward, then lift up onto your toes and lower so that your heels fall below the level of the step. Do this 15 times, then turn your heels out about 45 degrees for 15 repetitions. Turn them in about 45 degrees for 15 more.
Jumping rope isn't just for kids anymore, but you must change your high-jumping style to a more sophisticated low-jump mode to work your calves. Hold your hands out to your sides and move only your wrists to turn the rope, holding the rest of your arms still. Hop on your toes, never letting your heels touch the ground, keeping your jumps low -- just enough to clear the rope. Bouncing on your toes keeps your calf muscles working non-stop throughout the exercise. Shoot for two minutes at first, increasing the time or the number of two-minute sets as you can. As an added benefit, jumping rope burns a ton of calories, which can reduce your body fat and make your calf muscles more visible. MayoClinic.com says that a 160-pound person can burn 861 calories jumping rope for an hour.
Getting some air as part of your existing squat workout adds some calf action to the move. Do your normal squat, with your hips going back and down and your knees bent to 90 degrees. Instead of simply standing up, throw your arms up into the air and jump up out of the squat, taking off and landing on the balls of your feet. This plyometrics move also gets your heart rate up to burn some additional calories. Start with one set of 10 squat jumps.
Finding inner peace during your yoga exercises doesn't mean you can't stick to your calf-defining plan. The Downward-Facing Dog position offers an excellent opportunity to work your calves. Get in a pushup position on the floor, then lift your hips and walk your feet in slightly until your body forms an upside-down "V" shape. In this position, you should be balancing on your hands and toes. To work your calves, alternate lowering your heels to the floor, holding each heel down for one to two seconds. Start with one set of 10 and work up to two sets.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images