Training your calves does not require a trip to the gym. With a jump rope, a stair or ledge, and a dumbbell or improvised weight, you can train your calves using a variety of methods. Your calves consist of two muscles -- the soleus and the gastrocnemius. The soleus works when your knee bends; the gastrocnemius doe most of its work when your knee remains straight. For proper calf development, you must train both muscles. Consult a healthcare practitioner before beginning any strength training program.
Jump rope for as long as you can three times a week, with a rest day between each training session. This not only burns fat and improves your cardiovascular health, but also strengthens your calves. Get over the rope using whatever manner you can at first. This generally requires you to land with both feet at the same time. As your proficiency increases, land on one foot, and then the other.
Stand on a stair with only the balls of your feet on the edge of the stair. Place on hand on the wall or railing for balance. Lower yourself as far as you can by bending at the ankles while keeping your knees straight. Straighten up by attempting to stand on your toes. Repeat this exercise for sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. If you feel off balance, you can also do this on a flat floor until your balance improves.
Stand on a stair with only the ball of one foot on the stair. Lower yourself up and down by bending at the ankle. For extra resistance, hold extra weight in the hand on the same side as the calf you are exercising. If you do not have a dumbbell, you can use a sandbag, or even a duffel bag filled to capacity. Repeat this exercise for sets of eight to 12 repetitions. If you feel off balance, you can also do this on a flat floor until your balance improves.
Sit and place your feet on a block of wood. Only the balls of your feet should be on the wood. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Place a heavy sandbag or duffel bag on your knees. Perform calf raises by bending at the ankle as far as you can, lowering the weight on your knees. Straighten your calves and continue to push until you nearly stand on your toes. Repeat this exercise for sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
Items you will need
- ✓ Jump rope
- ✓ Stairs
- ✓ Block of wood such as a 2 x 4
- ✓ Heavy canvas sandbag
- Always use a full range of motion.
- Never bounce out of the bottom of the repetition, this strains your Achilles tendon.
- "Strength Training Anatomy -- Third Edition"; Frederic Delavier; 2010
- "The Weightlifting Attic"; Mohamed F. El-Hewie, et al.; 2010
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.