Source: Tips provided by Life Fitness
When people talk about toning their legs, most focus on the thighs, an area that is often voted the most troublesome. But to get shapely, sexy legs, you have to work the entire leg, including the most important muscle’the calf. Not only are the calves the most exposed part of your legs, peeking out under shorts and cropped pants, they are also a muscle that contributes to your body’s overall balance and circulation. So start now in order to get them in shape for the summer season.
The best way to tone your calves is to use them. Your calf muscles are put to good use when you perform the most basic functions of supporting your body weight through movement. However, if you are already active, you may have to challenge them beyond your usual routine of walking, running or riding a bike. Try some of these calf-boosting tips from the experts at Life Fitness.
Do calf raises
This is the go-to exercise for shaping and strengthening your calves. Start by standing with the balls of your feet on the edge of a step, your heels hanging off unsupported. Slowly contract your calf muscles and rise up onto your toes. Then, slowly lower your heels to below the level of the step until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your calves. Repeat three sets, 15 times each and gradually increase the repetitions. A variation or progression would be performing this exercise on a single leg at a time. If these calf raises are easy for you, try using a seated calf raise machine for an extra challenge.
When you jump, you naturally raise onto your toes and in turn work your calve muscles. Grab a jump rope and start with five minutes of jumping. Try a few sets of jump squats. Not only will your calves feel it, but your heart will be better off for it, too!
Ballerinas and dancers tend to have shapely, strong calves. Barre classes and other dance classes which are done in bare feet are all the rage these days and shouldn’t be hard to find in your community. If you cannot find an organized class in your neighborhood, try a DVD.
Don’t forget to stretch your calves after strength training. Bend over and touch your toes or hold a traditional yoga downward dog pose, pressing your heels towards the ground.
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