No single workout will magically reduce the size of your calves, but Pilates can help. Exercises in the Pilates side kick series strengthen the entire lower body, including the calf muscles. Pilates standing calf raises target the lower half of your legs specifically to help your calves develop a leaner, more toned appearance. Combine these exercises with cardio workouts and a healthy diet to slim down and strengthen your legs.
Side Kick Series
Lie on your right side on the mat with your legs stacked on top of each other. Prop yourself up on your elbow and support your head with your right hand.
Point your left foot. Lift it to the ceiling keeping your torso still and knee straight. Lower your leg with control back and return to your starting position. Repeat six to eight times.
Keep your foot pointed and lift your left leg so that it is in line with your left hip. There should be about six inches of space between your top and bottom legs.
Draw small circles with your leg. Focus on keeping your calf muscles engaged and your torso still. Complete eight to 16 leg circles.
Stand with your heels together and your legs slightly externally rotated. Your feet should resemble a "V."
Shift your weight onto the balls of your feet. Lift your heels as far off the floor as you can, keeping your knees straight and your ankles stable.
Slowly lower your heels back to the mat. Repeat the exercise eight to 10 times.
- Keep your abdominals engaged while performing Pilates exercises to promote core strength and stability.
- If you struggle with balance, hold onto a chair, table or wall while performing calf raises.
Sarah Badger is a certified pilates and group fitness instructor, writer and dance teacher. Her work has appeared in "Dance Spirit" magazine and several literary journals. Badger earned her bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from Marymount Manhattan College, and currently owns a dance and fitness studio in upstate New York.