Top Ten Best Exercises for Your Calves

Ever seen those people who look like they could rip a phonebook in half but when you see them in shorts you have to contain your laughter? Chicken legs are a common problem among people who workout - especially men - because they tend to put too much emphasis on their upper body. Women often focus on the glutes and men try to avoid looking below the knees in general.

Your calves are an important part of your balance structure as well as your athletic performance. Want to run faster? Work your calves. Jump higher? Calves. Be able to stand on one leg during yoga or to cross that fallen log over the freezing river? Calves and calves.

Below are the best exercises you can do to strengthen and grow your calf muscles.
The Top Ten
1 Standing Calf Raise

Use a machine or hold weights in each hand and go from flat footed to up on your toes then back. This works better if your heels can go lower than flat so maybe stand on a board or something a few inches high.

2 Reverse Single Calf Raises

Hole on to something for balance and then raise up onto your toes. Lift one foot off the ground while slowly lowering your bodyweight using just a single leg and calf. Use both feet to raise back up and repeat the lower with only one leg.

3 Kickstand Squats

Hold a barbell across your back and stand on a platform a few inches high. Step one foot back behind you and off the platform and then lower into a half-lunge, half-squat. You'll be doing a squat with the front leg and using the back leg for support. Stand back up till your rear leg is straight and repeat.

4 Bridge Calf Raises

Lay on your back and lift your hips so your feet are flat, your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, and your hips are in line with your knees and shoulders. Stay in this position and lift both feet up onto your toes. Slowly lower back to flat and repeat.

5 Seated Calf Raise

Sit with the weight above your knees and then raise your feet up to your toes and reverse.

6 Calf Press

Use a squat press machine and step with your toes instead of your whole foot. Point your toes then release.

7 Box Jumps

Start standing at the top of the box. Drop to the floor then explosively jump back up to the top spending as little time on the floor as possible. Try not to let your heels touch the floor at the bottom.

8 Sprinting

Just gold old fashion sprinting. Run 50 yards as fast as you can, then turn and jog back. Immediately sprint again. Repeat 6 times.

9 Balance Board

Get a small platform board (1 foot square or so) and place it on top of a tennis ball or something similar. Stand on the board and try to keep all sides of the board from touching the ground. Really works your stabilizers

10 Leaning Calf Raise

SThe same as the standing calf raise but you are just leaning forward against a wall at about a 30 degree angle. Often it helps to put a yoga ball in front of your chest so you can "roll" up and down it while pointing your toes.

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