The calves consist of many muscles with the two major muscles being the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which mainly consist of lots of slow twice muscle fibers that respond best to high training volume and frequency, which essentially means lots of reps quite regularly 1-2 days apart, so have a go at any of the below exercises wherever you are, no excuses.
1) Step Calf press
Find a step with a good clearance from the ground roughly 5 inches. Stand with the back of your feet hanging off the step. Once in position allow the heels to drop down, from here press up onto the balls of your feet and hold. Repeat this for 20reps of about 3 sets.
2) Single Leg Calf Press
An advanced version of this is to do the same exercise with only 1 leg at a time. Place your other foot around the back of the working ankle and use a wall to help with stability.
3) Seated calf raises
At your desk find again a step or stack some books up in the floor. Place your feet on the step again so the heels are hanging off. From this bent knee position extend up onto the balls of your feet. For added weight place your hands on your knees and press down. This exercise helps develops the soleus more, which can only be fully engaged when the knee is bent. 3 sets of 15-20reps
4) Mountain climbers
Traditionally used as a cardiovascular exercise to elevate the heart rate these can be great to help strength the calf muscles. Drop down in a push up position, from here place one leg up between your hands whilst the other leg remains straight. From here switch legs in a jumping fashion and repeat for 1 minute.
5) Donkey Calf Raises
A great exercise but does require a friend or work colleague. Bend over placing the top half your upper body on a desk. Get your friend to jump up on your back as if they were riding a horse. Once stable with feet about hip width apart extend up onto the balls of your feet. To make the exercise harder place your feet on a step so you get better ROM. 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
6) Skipping without a rope.
You don’t need a rope to get the benefits of skipping, you just need to pretend you have one. Skipping is a great way to help build up the shape of your calves and also their muscular endurance. Perform 5 sets of 1 minute.
A progression of this is a toe punch. Similar to skipping but you bounce up and down on one leg only, pushing up through the toe. To make this hard try and stay within a certain small radius. 3 x 30secs on each leg.
7) Lying bent knee raises
Lying on your back on the floor like you would do in a sit up position. Once in place drive the hips up to the ceiling whilst pushing all your weight up through the front part of your foot. Squeeze and hold at the top and return to repeat. 3 x 15-20 reps. To progress with this exercise try it off a step and then try as a single leg crossing the other leg over your knee for added resistance.
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