The calf muscles are an area of the body that seems to often get overlooked during training. Strong glutes are in right now, but your calves need a little love too. Defined calf muscles lend your legs that powerful look, but it's also important to have strong calves for more than just aesthetic reasons.
So whether you aim to look incredible in heels or you want to improve your running skills, our calf exercises for women will help you get the results you're after!
Calf exercises for women: Why you should bother
Your calf muscles are located on the back of the lower part of your legs between your knees and ankles. If you’re a visual thinker, imagine in a bicycle race -- see all those riders in front of you? The most prominent part of their body you can see from your line of sight is most probably their calf muscles.
Some people wear heels to accentuate their calf muscles and create the illusion of having long, lean legs, but we all know that heels aren’t the best for your body in the long run. Solution? Work out those calves and lift your legs naturally!
However, that’s just the visual side of things. Muscular calves are essential for physical as well as optical reasons, ranging from injury prevention to improving athletic ability.
Strong calf muscles can:
Prevent you from developing an injury, by stabilizing your lower legs, feet, and ankles. When you do exercises like calf raises, you’ll help reduce the pressure on the Achilles tendon, which can result in stronger ankles and a more solid base on which to stand. It’s also a good idea to do calf muscle stretching exercises to keep this area mobile and avoid stiffness.
Increases your running and walking speed. These strength exercises that build calf muscles can support you whether you’re training for a race or even a leisurely jog.
Builds power and explosiveness, especially when jumping. This makes calf exercises particularly useful for basketball and volleyball players who benefit from leaping higher.
Calf workouts for women
Try these exercises next time you want to make those calf muscles feel the burn!
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Press your weight into the balls of your feet and stand up on your toes, lifting your heels as high up as possible.
Contract your calf muscles at the top of the movement.
Slowly lower your heels back down to the floor.
Want to make the exercise a little more challenging? Try the calf raises with your heels hanging off the edge of a step or an elevated ledge.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Shift your weight to your right leg, then lift your left knee up and extend the same leg directly behind you. Your left leg and back should be parallel as possible to the floor.
At the same time, keep your core engaged and touch your left hand to the ground.
Without setting your foot down, drive your left leg back up and hop up with the right leg.
After you've completed a fixed amount of reps, switch sides and execute the same movements with the left leg stabilizing and right leg leading.
Wall-sit in plie position + calf raise
Stand with your back and heels touching a wall (or person) for support.
Step one and a half feet forward, placing feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart in front of you.
Start by doing a plié squat and pressing your back against the wall/person, gradually lowering yourself until your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle.
While maintaining your position against the wall, lift your heels off the ground and squeeze the calf muscles in a calf raise.
Lower your heels back to the ground and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Incline jump squats
Stand with your shoulders above your hips, your feet hip-width apart and your toes slightly turned out.
Drop your hips back and down with your knees behind your toes at all times, keeping your hips and ankles in line so your knees don’t collapse inward.
Drop your hip crease below parallel with the floor.
Jump up explosively with your arms straight up in the air.
Land gently back to your starting position.
So next time you’re working out, don’t forget to incorporate the above calf exercises – for women, for men, for everyone!