So you want to learn about calf exercises for women? You want sexy and toned calves but you don't know where to start? Perhaps you've tried other calf exercises out there and they did nothing for you? (This won't surprise you by the time you've finished reading here!).
You've come to the right place - and I am so glad you're here!
Women often ask me 2 questions that seem the same but are actually completely different...
What are the best calf slimming exercises?
What the best calf muscle toning exercises?
Let’s just straighten this out….
A calf muscle exercise is purely to grow and define the calf muscle. As with all other muscles in the body, there is no way to ‘spot-reduce’ fat. People often misinterpret the ‘burn’ in exercises when working muscles to be ‘burning off’ fat. This is not so.
The only way to lose fat through exercise is through high energy huffy puffy cardio workouts.
Therefore, if you need to lose weight on your calf the best exercise you can do is anything huffy puffy that will burn more calories, like running, that will increase your energy out, and help you lose weight overall.
On the other hand...
Calf exercises do work if your goal is to increase your calf muscle size or tone. The most effective calf exercises for women are those that target the 2 main calf muscles, being the gastrocnemius and soleus muscle. The gastrocnemius muscle is responsible for the plantar-flexion movement when the heel raises up higher than the toes) in a standing position, and the soleus muscle (which sits beneath and lower than the gastrocnemius) is worked in a sitting position. Therefore, both these muscles need to be worked in these positions.
I'm also often asked about calf exercises for women to tone Inner calf muscles – there is no such thing as a certain exercise that only works the inner calf. As mentioned above, when working the calf, you have only 2 muscles and these are worked as a whole muscle. As with any other muscle, you cannot work the ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ of a muscle that has the same origin and insertion attachments, as it is only one muscle that gets worked at the same time :)
5 of the best calf exercises for women to do at home are as the ones below. Incorporate these into your lower body strength training. I'd always put these at the end of your lower body session after working the larger muscle groups.
These little burners can be done with or without dumbells. If you have dumbells, hold them at your sides to increase the overall weight for you calves to raise.
These are used to work the soleus muscle which sits beneath the gastrocnemius and attaches lower on the calf. When standing, the gastrocnemius is targeted, so use these to also work the soleus muscle.
This is a fantastic plyometric exercise for the calves.