Power training that emphasizes your lower body can help tone your calves as well as your entire body. It increases muscle definition and your metabolism. The high-intensity nature of power training can be extreme and taxing for those who are new to exercise. However, with a steady progression and frequent practice, you can adapt to the training, allowing you to increase exercise duration and reduce recovery time, says Coach Robert dos Remedios, author of "Cardio Strength Training." Choose exercises that use your entire body rather than isolating your calves.
All jump-rope exercises require much work upon your calves and feet since they work together to produce and reduce force. Start with the basic bounce step where you hop with both feet together. Always land lightly on the balls of your feet. Jump at a rate of one hop per second. Once you can hop for two to three minutes without losing your rhythm, increase the rate to two hops per second for the duration of three minutes. As you improve, increase the duration by 30 seconds each week until you can hop for five minutes. Use this guideline when you perform other types of jump-rope exercises.
This exercise combines a squat with a vertical jump. The squat acts as a coiled spring that affects how high you can jump. Your legs and buttocks generate force, while the deep muscles in your torso and hips stabilize your joints. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and squat down as low as you can while swinging your arms behind you. Jump straight up as high as you can and swing your arms forward and over your head. Land gently on the balls of your feet and repeat the movement. Perform three to four sets of six to 10 reps.
Sprinting includes any short and fast burst of speed over a short distance, usually between 20 to 1,000 yards. Start with a short distance between 15 to 25 yards. Use two orange cones to gauge the distance. Once you have the distance measured, sprint to the opposite cone as fast as you can. Don't slow down until you have sprinted past the cone. Then turn around and sprint back to the starting cone. Increase the distance by 5 or 10 yards every week until you have reached between 80 to 100 yards.
Power endurance is an exercise strategy that involves performing two power exercises consecutively with very little rest in between. This method saves you time and burns more calories than performing one exercise at a time, says Coach Vern Gambetta, author of "Athletic Development." For example, perform a set of squat jumps followed by three minutes of jump roping. Rest for two to three minutes and repeat the pattern two more times.
To recover from a bout of extreme training for your calves, perform a stretch to relax the muscles and connective tissues to help reduce fatigue and muscle tightness. There are many ways to stretch. One way is to stand at the edge of a step on a stairway or on a similar platform with the balls of your feet in contact with the step. Hold onto something and let your heel gradually drop down the edge. Keep your body upright as you hold this stretch for six to eight deep breaths.
- Athletic Development; Vern Gambetta
- Cardio Strength Training; Robert dos Remedios
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