Sometimes you can feel that your calves look too chunky to wear a short skirt. You might work out to keep your body in shape but still not be happy with the way your legs look. Pilates exercises don’t just focus on the body core, but can work on lengthening and strengthening any area, including the calf muscles. Pilates was created for dancers and they tend to have lovely long lean looking legs.
Hold on to the back of a chair or a railing for support. Stand with your feet close together and keep your spine straight.
Slowly raise your heels a few inches from the ground and hold that position for three to four seconds. Slowly lower your heels back down and repeat 10 to 15 times.
Work your way up to three sets of calf raises. To increase the difficulty you can perform this exercise without a support to hold on to, or you can hold a dumbbell in each hand while you perform the calf raises.
Kneel on the mat on all fours and align your knees under your hips and place your hands below your shoulders.
Tuck your toes under, press your hips back and lift your knees from the mat so that your hands and feet are flat on the mat and your tail bone is the highest part of your body.
Press your heels down and feel your calf muscle stretching. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute, then return to the kneeling position. Repeat four times.
Seated Calf Stretch
Sit on the mat with one leg stretched in front of you and the other leg folded with the foot toward your other thigh. Lean forward and place your hands around the ball of the foot of your extended leg.
Gently pull back so that your toes come forward and you feel the stretch in your calf. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
Release your foot and return to sitting upright. Repeat four times
Plie Calf Raises
Stand with your toes pointing outward and your feet a little wider than your hip distance apart. Slowly move down to a squat position. Keep your back straight and your stomach pulled in.
Put your weight on your heels then troll your weight forward to the balls of your feet and lift your heels off the floor. Your knees should be over your toes.
Hold for 10 seconds then return to an upright position. Repeat five times.
Items you will need
- Floor mat
- You Tube: POP Pilates: Slimmer Inner Thighs and Runner's Calves
- Gaiam Life: Should You Do Pilates on a Mat or on a Reformer?
- Yoga Journal: Downward-Facing Dog
- Yoga with Nikki Chau: Where Are My Sitz Bones?
- Pilates: Harmonious Body Control: Additional Stretches
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images