If you want to perform well at any sport or are really just after great looking calves, then repeat calf muscle workouts are a must to stay in shape.
We all know that our calf muscles are used for basic tasks such as walking or climbing stairs however if its explosive speed, power and agility that you require, then you need to retain repeatedly for performance.
What Do Our Calf Muscles Do?
There are seven muscles in the calf region with the most prominent ones being the gastrocnemius, plantaris and soleus. Contracting the seven muscles aids the plantarflexion of the ankle and foot, the ability to curl the toes for balance as well as the ability at the knee.
Calf muscles are a key componenet in propulsion of our body. In order to left our heel and move in any direction we need to engage the calf muscle to perform this action. The speed and power required for propulsion is directly related to the calf.
The gastrocnemius musle is primarily made up of fast twitch or Type II muscle fibres. These muscle fibres are required for fast explosive action and can be trained using plyometric exercises.
The soleus muscle is the opposite of the gastrocnemius in that it is made primarly of slower Type I muscle fibres. Thes fibres are built for endurance and aerobic exercise and are known for their resistance to fatigue. Trained well the soleus will keep you right when walking, jogging and endurance over a long distance.
A healthy flexing calf muscle is a must as it performs an important role in pumping blood from the lower limbs back to the heart. This calf pump activity is a recognised medical process which ensures the flow of venous blood (lower oxygen content) back to the heart for re-oxygentation.
Calf Muscles Workouts for Strength and Flexibility
Calf muscle workouts can be easily developed in the gym by using weights or exercise machines such as the spin cylce or the recumbent exercise bike. Whilst these are excellent ways to develop the calf muscle group, there are a great many simple ways in whcih you can get similar stength and flexibility results in the home environment.
Home-Based Calf Muscle Workout
An extensive routine that can easily be done in and around the home – all you require is something to help you balance and some stairs. Dont overdo the these mini workouts – ensure you warm-up the calf before starting and watch you don’t strain the calf or achilles.
Cardio Calf Exercise Routine
In this video from Fitness Blender they combine cardio fitness with strengthening the calves. This is only a short exercise burt where 10 exercises are performed lasting 30 seconds each. No exercise equipment is needed in this routine. You only need space to perform the routine.
Calf Muscle Workouts with Dumbells
In this routine from Anabic Aliens all you need is dumbells and some space.
- Leaning one-legged calf raise with dumbell
- Jumping standing calf raise with dumbell – a good plyometric routine for explosive power
- Seated dumbell calf-raise – great for the soleus
- Standing dumbell calf-raise
- Downward outer calf-raise – a squating exercise which can build the soleous.
Simple Calf Muscle Workouts for Muscle Definition
This is a short 4 minute routine that can be done anywhere and anytime. These easy routines can be done with or without weights. The 30 second calf exercises in this routine are:
- Standing calf raises
- Single leg calf raises
- Single leg calf raises
Repeating this routine will quickly induce the calf burn which ultimately demonstrates that the muscles are working hard and using up energy.