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Exercises To Get Chiseled Sexy Calf Muscles


Exercises for Women to get Chiseled Sexy Calf Muscles

Chiseled calf muscles look sexy on a female. When you wear shorts or short tight lowers it makes heads turn. Women Fitness brings to its readers a complete resource for women to have perfect sculpted calf muscles.

The calf is composed of two major muscles: the gastrocnemius, a large muscle located near the top of the calf, and the soleus, a smaller muscle on the inside of the calf. Most women want these muscles to be toned so they can have shapely, attractive calves. Fortunately, there are some effective calf exercises that can help tone your calves. It is important to do these exercises safely. Always warm up thoroughly first by walking or jogging slowly for at least 10 minutes, use proper form, and stay focused on what you are doing at all times. It’s also best to do only one of these exercises each day to avoid soreness and injury.

Many women focus on typical “problem areas” such as the belly, butt, and thighs while neglecting the lower leg. It’s a mistake to neglect the calves, as they play a large role in posture and joint health, not to mention that a well-formed pair of calves is sure to turn heads during shorts weather.

You don’t need to spend a ton of time on your calves to make them look and feel great. Many fitness activities you may already be doing can work the calves with no extra effort, however, a few simple calf exercises and calf stretches that are super easy to add to your current routine can truly optimize your calf area.

Basic Calf Anatomy

Calf Muscle Anatomy: Two muscles comprise the calf: gastrocnemius and soleus. These two muscles work together to plantarflex the ankle, which is the action of pointing your toes downward. Gastrocnemius also helps other muscles to flex the knee, bringing the calf toward the back of the thigh.

Gastrocnemius: The Larger Outer Calf Muscle

Gastrocnemius is the larger and fleshier muscle of the two. It has two heads, a lateral head toward the outside of the calf and a medial head closer to the midline of the body. Both heads of gastrocnemius arise from the bottom back side of the femur. Gastrocnemius is made up of mostly type II or fast-twitch muscle fibers, meaning it is most effective and powerful during short bursts of activity.

Soleus: The Smaller, Deeper Calf Muscle

Soleus is located directly underneath gastrocnemius. It’s smaller and shorter, originating on the lower leg bones rather than the femur. In contrast to gastrocnemius, soleus is comprised of mostly type I fibers, which are made for endurance, thus slower to fatigue, making soleus a postural muscle. Without soleus’ sustained efforts at pulling your lower leg backward, you would fall flat on your face!

The Achilles Tendon: The Calf Muscles’ Connection to the Heel

Gastrocnemius and soleus join forces to form the Achilles tendon, which crosses over the ankle joint and inserts into the back of the heel bone. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, yet the most frequently injured, especially in women.

Calf Muscles and Posture Problems

Research studies have shown that wearing high heels causes significant shortening and tightening of the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon. The body will begin to permanently reflect any position it is forced into day after day. Why does this matter? Excessive tension in muscles and tendons makes them much more prone to injury.

A rigid Achilles tendon drastically changes the joint mechanics of the entire lower leg. Additionally, the muscles across the front of the ankle joint become elongated and weak, further disrupting normal ankle and foot function. The side effects of high-heel wearing echo throughout the kinetic chain, contributing to postural issues as well as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and foot problems such as overpronation, also known as flat feet.

If you’re a habitual heel-wearer, when you take off the heels to don your running shoes, the excess tension in your calf area combined with the weakness across the front of the ankle predisposes you to all kinds of nasty injuries, including strains and sprains. You may also experience muscle and connective tissue problems traveling up the leg to the knee, hip, and even lower back. The issues caused by high-heel wearing can be reversed with time and care.

Calf Muscle Stretches for Relieving Excessive Tension

Women who wear high heels tend to have excessively tight calf muscles. However, you don’t have to wear high heels to have tight calves; it’s quite a common problem for many women and men.

To perform a quick self-test to determine your level of calf tightness, simply perform a simple squat exercise. If your heels try to rise off the ground at all, your calves are excessively tight. This means you need to prioritize loosening your calf muscles through corrective flexibility exercises.

The best way to address tight muscles is through a combination of self-myofascial release and static stretching. Self-myofascial release is a flexibility technique in which you use a foam roller or other implement such as a tennis ball to give yourself a deep tissue massage.

Static stretching is the classic stretching technique in which you assume a specific pose and hold it for at least 20 seconds. After using a foam roller, use the following calf muscle stretch to finish loosening the calf muscles. To further target the soleus muscle, bend your knee and hold the basic position.


Basic running will tone your entire leg. To work your calves more, add sprints once a week. After you are warmed up and have run for at least 20 minutes, sprint for 30 to 60 seconds. Recover by walking or slowly jogging for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat the sprint-recovery cycle four to eight times.

Barefoot Running

Find a smooth stretch on the beach, golf course, or football field. After you have warmed up by running for at least 10 to 20 minutes, take off your shoes and run barefoot for 10 to 20 minutes. You will be surprised at the workout your calves get when you run barefoot.

Jump Rope

Jumping rope forces you to stay on your toes, which works the calf muscles. Jump rope for 1 or 2 minutes as a warm-up before your daily workout of running, biking or swimming. Build up to 5 to 10 minutes of jumping.

Leg Press

The leg press machine is mainly used to work the quadriceps, but with a simple tweak, it can work your calves too. Sit on the machine and put the balls of your feet at the bottom of the push plate, where your heels would normally be. Now push the plate using only your toes and the balls of your feet. You will most likely need a lighter weight because your calves are doing most of the work, not your quadriceps. Repeat 10 to 12 times on each foot and build up to three sets.

Calf Raises

With your toes on the edge of a step, block, or large book, rise up onto your toes and the balls of your feet. Then slowly lower yourself back down and drop your heel below the edge. Repeat 10 to 12 times on each foot and build up to three sets. Keep your posture straight and use a handrail for balance if needed.

Calf Rodeo Reps

Because you can hit the soleus best when you’re sitting down, you’ll want to include seated exercises in your calf workout. Do both double- and single-leg seated calf raises to train this muscle. To best involve the gastroc muscle, do single- or double-leg standing calf raises. You can do them on flat ground, or off a ledge for added difficulty.

Sets And Reps

Because your soleus is made of slow-twitch fibers, it will respond best to slow reps over a long duration. Use a slower tempo pattern and perform 12-to-20 reps. Don’t skimp on the weight: Your calves recover quickly and can take a heavy beating, so be sure to challenge yourself. The gastroc is a fast-twitch muscle, so it’s best targeted through explosive movements with heavy weight.

Stretch to be Supple

Calves have a tendency to tighten and cramp, especially when pumped. Some quick calf stretches at the end and throughout your calf workouts will help them stay loose.

Placing a foot up against the wall and leaning into it is one of the best ways to stretch out the calves. Or, standoff a step and let your body weight stretch your heel toward the ground. Hold each position for 20-to-30 seconds.

Calf-tastic Cardio

Uphill walking or running is excellent for toning and defining your calf muscles. Both exercises will also burn unwanted body fat. Stair climbing (or using a comparable machine at the gym) is also excellent calf-toning cardio.

Push off on your toes, not your heels, to engage your calves. If you really want to take things up a notch, try hopping up a staircase on just one leg, then switch sides and repeat. Feel the burn! You can incorporate 20 minutes of cardio after any resistance workout, including direct calf training.

1. Single-Leg Calf Raises

According to my personal trainer, this is one of the best exercises for calves. You’ll be surprised how sore you are after the first day, so be prepared! Stand on one foot (the other bent at the knee behind you), then slowly roll from your flat foot to almost your tip toes. You don’t want to stand ON your tip toes, but close! Then slowly roll back to the flat of your foot. Start with 2 sets of 12 for each foot… then gradually increase from 12 to 20, then to 30.

2. Calf Raises

Double the single-leg calf raises, and you can tone both of your calves at once! If you don’t quite have the balance for it, no worries… hold on to the back of a chair til you get it. Try for 2 sets of 20, if you can… work up to 2 sets of 30. I like to do these standing in line at the grocery store or at the bank. What a great way to sneak in your calf exercises!

3. Squats

Want toned calves, legs, and bootie? There’s nothing better than squats! The key is to do them while maintaining proper form; your knees should never extend beyond your toes, and you should never really lean forward. Make a sitting motion, then come back up without bouncing. For balance, extend your arms out in front of you. There! That’s one! Now complete 2 sets of 12. Whew!

4. Lunges

Aside from giving you a stellar toned butt and thighs, lunges are another exercise for calves as well. Do 2 sets of 12 standard lunges (front), then mix it up by doing 2 sets of 12 right-side lunges and 2 sets of 12 left-side lunges. If you can, try doing 2 sets of 12 back lunges, too… I can never do these… balance!

5.Bosu Ball Squats

As if squats themselves weren’t challenging enough, right? Combining a squat with the BOSU ball works your legs and core because you’re straining to keep your balance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart onto a BOSU ball with a pole for support. Do the squat move, then use the pole to help you stand back up. Wow… this is hard! Do two sets of 12.

6. Run

Running is marvelous cardio, but it’s also great for your legs and calves! If you want toned calves, get a good pair of trainers and walk, jog, or run. Aim for five days a week, about half an hour for best results.

7. Do Yoga

Yoga is fantastic for stress relief, balance, pain management, strength, flexibility, and agility… and yoga is another great exercise for calves. I like doing the Tree pose, then extending from the flat of my foot to my toes… sort of a calf raise, right?

8. Try Ballet

Think about it: in several ballet poses, you’re on your toes, in similar stances to yoga poses and even calf raises. If you want great legs, ballet is an excellent exercise for calves.

Enroll in a beginner class, or just buy a ballet-at-home DVD, and for even more fun, try it with your kids!

There are so many exercises for calves, and most of them don’t even involve extra gym time! I love that you can do most of these at home, or even standing in a queue. The Best Calf-Strengthening Exercises

Here are the four best exercises for strengthening your calves.

1. Double-Leg Calf Raise.
Calf raises are the classic calf-strengthening exercise. They use your body weight to strengthen and tone the gastrocnemius and soleus.

Starting position:
Stand near a wall for balance. Place your feet hip-width apart, and make sure your ankles, knees, and hips are in vertical alignment to protect your joints.

Press down into the balls of both feet to raise your body upward. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in so that you move straight upward, rather than shifting your body forward or backward.


Start standing on a stair, or similar so your heels can drop lower than your toes. Keeping the balls of your feet on the stair, lower your heels as far as you can toward the floor. Then press your heels up as high as you can. Add weight to add intensity. Repeat the exercise holding a dumbbell or other weight in one hand. Keep your hand on a wall for balance.

2. Single-Leg Calf Raise.
You can increase the intensity of the calf raise by doing it on one leg. That way you can strengthen your calf muscle even more.

Starting position:
Stand on one leg near a wall for balance with the other leg bent behind you. Be sure the ankle, knee, and hip of the leg you’re working on are in vertical alignment to protect the joints.

Press down into the ball of your foot to raise your body upward. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in so you avoid shifting forward or backward.


Start standing on a stair or similar. Keeping the ball of your foot on the stair, let your heel drop down below the step. Then press up as high as you can.
Add weight to add intensity. Hold a dumbbell or other weight in one hand. Place the other hand on the wall for balance.

3. Seated Calf Raise.
You can do this exercise at home or at the gym on a calf exercise machine. The exercise works both the gastrocnemius and soleus.

At home.

Starting position: Sit on a firm, sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees aligned directly over your feet. Don’t let your knees turn in or out. Lean forward placing hands on thighs near knees and pushing down to add resistance.

Action: Press slowly down into the balls of your feet to raise your heels as high as you can. Next, slowly lower your heels. Repeat.

At the gym.

Starting position: Set yourself up in the calf press machine with the balls of your feet on the platform. This will let you lower your heels toward the floor. Undo the machine’s safety latch and release the weight onto your calves.

Action: Drop your heels as far as you can toward the floor to lower the weight, and then press into the balls of your feet to raise your heels as high as you can.

4. Calf-Building Sports:
Taking part in the following sports will help you both strengthen and tone your calves.

Running, walking, and hiking are excellent calf-strengthening exercises, especially when you go uphill. The steeper the climb, the more your calves have to work.

Running sports such as soccer, basketball, and tennis demand that you run, jump, and push off your calf muscles to accelerate or change direction quickly. So they’re great for toning calves.

Step class and other kinds of dance will work your calves every time you step up and down or bend your knees and push off going from high to low positions.

Swimming works the calves along with the rest of the leg muscles. It also avoids the impact of running or jumping. Because it’s low-impact, it’s also a safe way to strengthen calves if you’re recovering from an injury.

If you’re overweight and want the look of toned calves, you may want to add a safe weight loss program that includes diet and exercise. You can’t spot-reduce any part of your body.


Follow these guidelines so your calf-strengthening exercises are safe and effective.

Women Fitness is sure that if our female readers follow the information provided above they are sure to get sexy chiseled calf muscles.

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