There's no need to waste time driving to the gym if you want to work out your calves. Keep your legs high-heel ready with exercises you can do at home without needing extra equipment. Some exercises target your calf muscles specifically, while others add a calf exercise to another move to hit several muscle groups at once.
Jumping rope isn't just for kids -- it does an excellent job of toning your calves and giving you an aerobic workout in the process. Try it the grown-up way, with your hands out to your sides making small circles to spin the rope. Keep the movements fast and small. Jump about an inch off the ground, letting only your toes touch. Staying on your toes while you propel yourself up and stabilizing your landing keeps your calves engaged the entire time you jump rope. Start with one set of two minutes and work up to two or three sets.
Although you can perform calf raises on a flat floor, they are more effective if you have an aerobic step or a set of stairs in your home. Hang your heels off the back of the step, then lift up on your toes. Lower again until your heels fall below the top of the step. Do two sets of 10. Try it with one foot at a time once the exercise stops challenging you. This exercise also serves as a dynamic stretch you can use before any workout routine.
Squats can work your calves, you ask? Yes, they can, if you add a jump to the lifting movement. Sink into your squat with your knees at 90 degrees and your hips out behind you, then jump up as you straighten your body to add a calf workout to the squat. Lift your arms high into the air for a more cardiovascular component, or try this on one leg when you become more advanced. Shoot for two sets of 10 jumping squats.
Even if you're not into yoga, the Downward-Facing Dog position gives you a strong calf workout. Start out in a basic pushup position with your hands and toes on the floor. Bend and lift your hips until your body makes an upside-down "V" shape. Hold the position and lower one heel to the floor for two seconds, then lift that heel and lower the other one for two seconds. Repeat for two sets of 10, resting for at least 30 seconds between each set.
When you think lunges, you probably think gluteus and thigh workout. However, you can tone your calves at the same time. When you step forward into the lunge position, bend your back knee and pulse up and down a few inches. The back leg is resting on your toes, which uses the calf muscles to hold steady. As you lift and lower slightly, the calf muscle helps control the movement of the back leg. You can get a similar experience with a single-leg squat, where you keep one foot slightly behind you resting on the ball of your foot as you lift and lower. The thigh of your other leg is doing most of the heavy lifting, but the calf of the lower leg works to hold the leg stable while resting on your toes. Do one set of 12 lunges or squats.
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