Creating defined calves is something many people – both male and female – aspire to. With the right mix of cardio and resistance training your calf muscle workout can create calves to die for.
#1 Cardio for Calves
When it comes to creating killer calves, the type of cardio you do is just as important as the resistance exercises you choose. If tight, toned, defined calves are what you crave then activities such as skipping, jogging, and jumping jacks are an excellent inclusion into your calf muscle workout. Not only will you get a great workout but these exercises, in particular, are very good for targeting the calves and shins.
#2 Seated Calf Raises
Seated calf raises, together with standing calf raises (see below) these are one of the best ways to tone, define, and strengthen your calves. Sit on the seated calf machine so that the balls of your feet are on the plate and the pads are resting on your thighs. Adjust the weight and push up through your lower leg so that only your toes are on the plate. Hold briefly then lower your feet so that your heel drops just below the plate. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps.
#3 Standing Calf Raises
Standing calf raises allow you to work your entire calf. An added bonus is that you can do standing calf raises with or without weights and use free weights or leverage calf exercise machines to perform them. Stand on a block or plate with the balls of your feet and your heels hanging over the edge. Raise yourself up onto your toes, hold briefly, and then lower yourself back down so that your heels drop just below the edge of the plate or block. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps. If you want to use additional weight, hold dumbbells in each hand, a barbell across your shoulders or a weight plate across your chest.
#4 Farmer’s Walk on Toes
The farmer’s walk on toes is an excellent exercise to tone and strengthen your calves and is an exercise few people know about. A very simple exercise, the farmer’s walk on toes is a great addition to any calf muscle workout. Using the heaviest dumbbells you feel you can use, hold them at arm’s length by your sides. Raise up onto your toes and walk around on tip-toes for 60 seconds. Not only with your calves get a great workout but this is also a great cardio exercise.
#5 Donkey Raise
Donkey raise is another exercise that makes a great addition to any calf muscle workout and can be performed on a machine or against a wall or bar. The key to this exercise is to keep the natural arch in your back to prevent an injury. Lean forward from your hips so that your upper back is parallel to the floor and rest your hands on the machine, a wall or a ball for support. With the balls of your feet on a block or plate, raise your heels as high as you can, hold briefly and then lower back down. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps.
#6 Reverse Raise
Not strictly a calf exercise, reverse raises help to strengthen the tibialis anterior and stretch out the calf. Stand with your heels on a plate or block and your toes over the edge. Put your toes towards your body then lower them back to the start. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps. See the video below on reverse calf raises using a smith machine to provide more force: https://youtu.be/nOtr_C8i0J8 By performing the above calf muscle workout 2-3 times a week, you’ll soon have killer calves that will be the envy of your friends.