Some people want bigger calves with lots of shape and definition, while others want slimmer calves, more linear calves. We all want what we don’t have. But what if you feel you have been doing exercises that have inadvertently increased the size of your calves and you were happy as they were? We troubleshoot it for you below:
1. Keep your heels down and avoid walking on the ball of your foot
2. Long-distance running versus short, intense running workouts.Think about the physique of short- and long-distance runners. Endurance runners usually have thin legs, as opposed to sprinters who have very well developed calves and thigh muscles. Sprinting develops the calves, but endurance running tends not to, and may actually help slim down calves. Try running slower, but for longer distances (endurance running) with little to no resistance. That means running on flat terrain when outdoors or keeping the resistance/ incline low on the cardio machines in the gym.
3. Activities that primarily call for strength, power and speed from your legs muscles tend to create bigger bulkier muscle. For example, short intense cardio workouts, workouts that require strength and exercises that involve resistance, incline or going up hills. Steep inclines on the treadmill particularly and hill running will develop calves and make big calves even larger.
4. High-impact jumping movements, such as rope jumping, tend to build calf muscle. Swimming, walking, cross-training and the elliptical trainer are low-impact exercises. The elliptical trainer is an excellent tool for low-impact cardio.
5. The step machine and other types of climbing exercises target the calf muscles.
6. Resistance Training. Use lighter weights and high reps when working your calves. Exercises that promise to burn fat from your calves, are likely to be resistance exercises that target the calf muscles. The burn you feel when you’re working your calves is the calf muscle being worked and getting stronger, not fat burning. You cannot burn fat from a specific area by doing special exercises. Exercise causes weight loss from the whole body, not specifc parts. Remember there is no such thing as spot reduction. You cannot do exercises that will reduce the fat around the calf muscles alone.
7. Stretching may help muscles appear longer and leaner. You could try stretching classes, yoga or Pilates. A great stretching exercise for the calf muscles is a wall push-up. Stand with your front foot approximately one foot from a wall and your back foot about three feet from a wall. Your back leg should be straight, the front leg bent and your hands resting against the wall, while you lean forward. Your feet should be pointing straight ahead and your heels on the ground. Hold for 15 – 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg. This stretching exercise should help lengthen calves.
8. Pilates is an excellent tool to shape and elongate the legs and body.
9. Find out the causes of big calves.
10. Learn about how to slim down legs.
Or, check out how to get slim legs