Ten Top Tips for Developing Calf Muscles
A tongue-in-cheek article about the art of building those all-important triceps surae!
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From Cirencester to Clacton, Barcelona to Barbados, everyone is talking about the same subject: how can I get calves the size of beach balls? Of course, there’s a definitive answer to this question however, for legal reasons (damn you Mariah Carey), I can’t divulge the secret. So, below are my top ten sports, exercises and fitness tips that I can guarantee will have you donning your just-below-the-knee Capri shorts quicker than you can say ‘pass me those walnuts and I’ll show you my party piece’.
How many times have you driven past Lycra-clad cyclists and become fixated by the gargantuan diamonds at the lower backs of their legs? Like pistons pumping up and down, up and down, there’s no better way to expand your gastrocnemius, soleus and tibialis anteriors than in the saddle.
Top tip: Go on a cycling holiday and put your leg plums through their paces every day of the week.
Anyone who’s a fan of the white stuff will know that if you’ve not limbered up and strengthened your all-important calves prior to downhill, mogul and cross-country skiing then by day two you’re probably going to be as sore as the members of the Big Brother household when they realise that A. nobody knows who they are and B. nobody’s been watching their ‘whacky’ antics.
Note: If you’re working your calves then they’re going to ache a bit – that’s good, it means they’re growing – skiing makes growth happen.
Footwear is key here and so is gradient. Firstly, don’t think that just because someone tells you that ‘footwear is key’ that you can get away with wearing nothing else, you can’t, you have to wear shorts and a vest – it’s the law. Secondly, running up a steady incline will help increase your calf muscle size – fact. So, get your kit on (all of it), head for anywhere other than Norfolk and get jogging.
In the case of walking, as opposed to jogging, it’s often acceptable not to wear clothes, especially if you’re in your own home. As with jogging, calf muscle growth occurs when you’re undertaking an incline and from the stairs to the Stairmaster (calf making machine), walking is an awesome hobby that is getting more and more popular by the day.
5. Race walking
This is like walking except it is quicker and involves rhythmic buttock movements. Yes, it will develop your calves, yes it will harden your glute and yes people will laugh at you. Little known fact: the London 2012 Race Walk route takes competitors past Buckingham Palace and will cost spectators £20 or £30 for the privilege of watching people walking at speed.
As mentioned in the walking section, stairs are ideal indoor tools to help pump your back leg balls and for those of you that live in a bungalow, fear not, there are plenty of accessible buildings, particularly multi-storey car parks, where you can use staircases free of charge – winner!
Soccer or footy or kicky kicky kick kick is an excellent means of increasing the old leg cabbages especially if you’re playing on a Sunday morning in a park that’s muddier than an MP’s expense account.
8. Ice/roller skating
Find a local rink or just leave your freezer door open and skate around the kitchen because ice-skating is an awesome calf maximizer that will have you burning like a scout leader’s leg hairs. Of course, roller-skating will save electricity and extortionate ice-rink fees and all you have to do is find a flat patch of road or pavement and roll on you crazy diamond, roll on.
I’m not talking about rhymes involving salt, mustard, vinegar, pepper I’m talking about doing the boxer beat. Get yourself to any Lucky Gloves gym and watch the pros up there on their tip toes skipping as daintily as ballerinas.
Top tip: don’t tell boxers that they look like ballerinas.
This is the fastest growing craze next to walking and from organised clubs to back yards, there isn’t a man, woman or child who hasn’t felt the awesome elasticity of the trampoline. Trampolining is perfect for calf sculpting as you’re literally just bouncing up and down (unless you’re really good and you can do a little flip and land on your tummy – just watch that chin – ouch!).
Did you know: that you can trampoline inside! That’s right, inside! Trampettes (not to be confused with female tramps) are indoor trampolines and if you can ignore the headaches, this is a calf-strengthening exercise machine that’s as much fun as a barrel full of biscuits.
Biog: Chris says that going on a cycling holiday is the best way to have fun and exercise your calf muscles.