5 Jump Rope
Go back to your elementary school days and have some fun with this exercise. Then experiment with different paces (slow, fast, super-fast) and styles (single unders, double unders, single-legged, criss-cross). How to jump rope: The best length for a jump rope is one that reaches your waist when you step on the middle and hold a handle in each hand. Once you have a good rope, start jumping with proper form. Stay on the balls of your feet and bend your knees slightly. Jump quickly and stay light on your feet.
4 Run or Walk Uphill
While it’s technically not one single exercise, walking or running uphill is a great way to tone your calves while getting a cardio workout, too. So get out there and go conquer those hills. How to walk or run uphill: This one is basically self-explanatory, but remember to keep proper form. Keep your abs and glutes tight and engaged. If you’re walking, roll your feet heel to toe, and if you’re running, land on the balls of your feet.
3 Box Jumps
Get in on the secret that pilates enthusiasts already know: hip lifts. This exercise not only tones your entire backside but challenges your core stability and balance. How to do hip lifts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms by your side. Press into the floor through your heels and arms to raise your butt and back off the floor. While in the lifted position, raise your right leg so it extends out at a 45° angle. In this position, raise and lower your hips several inches without lowering to the floor or hyperextending at the top. Lower back to start, switch legs, and repeat.
2 Single-Leg Calf Raises
Take the standard calf raises up a few notches in intensity by focusing on one leg at a time. They do take more balance, so you might want to find a railing or table or other steady support for balance. How to do this move: Stand on one leg with the other bent at the knee. The range of motion is the same as for standard calf raises — shift your weight to the balls of your feet and lift up and lower down, using the railing for occasional support but not relying on it. Make sure to do the same number of reps on both legs. As with standard calf raises, you can find a set of stairs to do your lifts on for a more challenging move.
1 Calf Raises
Got a few minutes while you’re talking on the phone, standing in line, or doing some other mindless task? Run through a few sets of calf raises and before you know if, you’ll have the best looking calves in town. How to do calf raises: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Transfer your weight to the balls of your feet as you lift your heels off the ground as far as you can without locking your knees or ankles. Slowly lower back down until your heels are barely hovering above the ground. For an advanced variation, find a step or ledge and place the balls of your feet on the edge of it and run through the same range of motion but lowering a little further than level and back up.
Incorporate these moves into your workout routine or everyday life and make sure to stretch your calves out afterwards. And for more exercises that strengthen your calves, check out the lists for the best exercises for quads, butt, and lower body.
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