We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Developed calf muscles don't just benefit body's symmetry and balance. Strong calves get you through your day by helping you jump, walk and run. Your calves are made up of three muscles: the medial and lateral gastrocnemius and the soleus, all of which engage when you flex your ankle, extending it to point your toes down or up. Exercises that get you on your tiptoes are the most effective in targeting those lower leg muscles.
Movements in which you press a weight upward or outward by flexing your ankles and coming onto tiptoe will target your gastrocnemius calf muscles and engage the soleus as synergist, or assisting, muscles. The sled and hack squat machines in the gym are very useful for doing pressing exercises like the lying calf press, the 45-degree calf press and the sled hack calf press.
Rising up on tiptoe flexes your calf muscles and adding resistance will challenge them for improved results when building strength and defining them. Seated and standing calf raises and donkey calf raises are all performed upright with the source of resistance on your shoulders or back instead of positioned above or in front of your feet.
No Equipment Necessary
You don't always need to use weights when working your calf muscles with tiptoe exercises. Just standing flat-footed on the floor and raising up on tiptoe, either one or both legs at a time, will work your calves. You can increase the range of motion by doing the exact same exercise on the edge of a step. Raise all the way up on your toes, then lower your body down so that your heels are below the edge of the step. This will stretch your calves in the opposite direction at the bottom of the movement and give you more area to cover when raising back up.
Benefits of Seated Exercises
In their book "Conditioning for Strength and Human Performance," T. Jeff Chandler and Lee E. Brown explain that when you stand while working your calves, your gastrocnemius muscles are the ones doing most of the work because they are in a lengthened position. But when you sit to perform some of the weighted calf exercises, those muscles are shortened and unable to supply much movement for the exercise. By incorporating some seated calf exercises into your leg workout, you're setting the stage to strengthen your soleus calf muscles by allowing them to do more of the work.
Up on Your Toes
You can target your calf muscles by getting on your toes to perform exercises that aren't typically calf-focused. Run a flight of stairs or jump rope on your toes, for instance. Don't do those types of exercises exclusively, however, as that can be stressful on your ankles. But adding the tiptoe version once a week will engage your calf muscles and help to build and tone them.