The calf muscle is the largest muscle on the back of your leg. It is primarily responsible for the plantar reflex action. The calf muscle comprises of two muscle groups, the soleus muscle and the gastrocnemius muscle. The calf muscle is probably the most difficult muscle to train.
This is also because it is the most ignored. The smaller muscle called as tibialis muscle, which runs in the front of your leg below the knee is another muscle, which needs to be effectively trained in order to build bigger calves. If you want to build your calf muscles, it will require consistent and painstaking efforts over a period of time. You will also have to combine some cardio to get rid of excess fat if there is any.
Best Calf Muscles Exercises
Seated Calf Raises
This is probably one of the most popular exercises for calves. This exercise targets the soleus muscle as your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. This is done with the help of a machine. Sit in the machine and make sure you adjust the kneepads so that your knees are snug underneath them.
Your foot should be flat on the foot block. The position should not be too snug or too loose. Now remove the machine clasp and raise your feet as high as you can on the tips of your toes. Now slowly bring the toes down. Feel the stretch in the calves. This exercise can be quite tough initially. Once you are comfortable, add weights to the machine.
Leg Calf Raise
Stand on a foot block in a way that your heels are left hanging off the block. Make sure you take support of an overhead bar while you do this exercise. Now slowly rise up on the tips of your toes and hold the stretch.
Bring your toes and heels down. Make sure that you bring your heels down as much as possible so that you feel a distinctive stretch in your calves. Rise and come down in a rhythmic fashion. Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps each.
This exercise can be incorporated in your work out as a part of warming up and cooling down. You must do this exercise especially when you are planning to work on your lower body. Stand facing a wall and place your palms on the wall. Extend one leg behind you and make sure your both feet are flat on the floor.
The knee of your rear leg should be straight. Lean towards the wall such that you feel a tension and stretch in your calf muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
Sitting Calf Stretches
Sit down on the floor with your back erect and your legs stretching out in front of you. Now bend forward and grab your feet by their arches. Pull your toes towards yourself such that you feel a definite stretch in your calf muscles. Hold for 10 seconds. Do this exercise for 5-6 counts.
These are very simple but very effective exercises for strengthening the calves. For stronger calves, you may have to add weights to the machines in order to increase the intensity and make the work out more challenging.
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