Whether it’s time, financial or family constraints keeping you at home, you can still manage to get killer calves without hitting the gym. In fact, your calves are some of the easiest muscles to target even when you’re short on time and too busy to bother with exercise equipment. Squeeze these simple calf exercises into your day while you’re watching your favorite reality show, waiting for your kids’ bus to arrive or stealing a few minutes of me-time when your hubby helps the kids with homework.
3-Way Step Raises
Stand on the edge of a step. If you don’t have a set of stairs in your home, head outdoors and stand on the edge of your deck or front patio. Wherever your tootsies end up, your heels should be hanging off the edge while your toes and forefeet rest firmly on the step, pointing straight forward.
Push the balls of your feet into the step, raising your body into the air. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds.
Lower your heels back to starting position -- but don’t just stop there. Keep lowering your heels until they are slightly lower than the edge of the step. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds before immediately pressing back up into a lifted position. Repeat 10 times.
Turn your toes inward about 45 degrees. Repeat the entire sequence -- you should feel the burn in an entirely new area of your calves.
Challenge yourself once more by turning your toes outward about 45 degrees. Repeat the sequence. By this point, your calves should be calling for mercy from every angle. But don’t overdo it. While a little bit of burning in your calves is good, too much pain could leave you toppling from the steps. Stop the exercise if it feels dangerous.
Standing Calf Curls
Stand on a flat surface with your feet close together. Position a rolled-up yoga mat behind your left knee. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot behind you to hold the mat in place. Either put your hands on your hips or extend your arms in front of you with your palms clasped together.
Bend forward slightly at the waist. Keep your left leg curled tightly behind you. Pretend like your yoga mat is filled with the most divine chocolates that you just couldn’t imagine dropping onto the ground. Wipe the drool away and proceed to feel the burn.
Pulse your left leg up and down 20 times. Pulses are small, quick movements. Your foot shouldn’t lift or lower more than 6 inches each time. Keep your calf muscle squeezed tightly with every pulse.
Switch the yoga mat to your right knee and perform 20 pulses.
Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.