I motivate myself to exercise almost every day by doing 30-day challenges. Now it is easy to stay motivated.
How to Increase Your Calf Size
You work your calf muscles while walking, running, jumping or standing. Increasing the size of your calves can be difficult because you already work them hard every day. To make the muscles bigger, work them until near failure. Work out until it starts to hurt a little. Then do some more. When you feel like quitting get yourself to keep going a little longer.
I had really skinny legs. Now I have muscular legs. You could have bigger calves in weeks. They are some of the more noticeable muscles, and they support most of your body weight. While increasing the size of your muscles, you are improving your health and functional strength.
A lot of people think that calf size is mostly genetic or that it is really difficult to increase the size of these muscles. I found they respond well to hard work. They can quickly adapt to your exercise routine by becoming bigger and stronger.
How to Do Calf/Heel Raises
Calf raises are a very simple exercise that you can do while standing on the edge of a step.
- Raise yourself up onto your toes and lower yourself back down. Repeat as many times as you can.
- I recommend doing them at the bottom of a set of stairs. If you don't want to do this exercise on a raised surface like a stair step, then you could do it on the floor.
- Practice with just your body weight. Then try it with some light weights. If you work your calves hard enough, you should start to experience some pain or discomfort.
- Heel raises are another name for this exercise.
- Maintain a slow pace and be careful not to lose your balance.
- You barely move and while it may look easy, it is a difficult exercise.
I like that I can get a great calf workout in two minutes.
30-Day Calf Challenge
For this challenge, try to do 100 calf raises a day with 10-pound dumbbells. You could do four or five sets throughout the day to get to 100. As your strength and endurance improve, try to work towards doing 100 in a row. If it is not challenging enough, increase the weight. The goal is to improve your strength and endurance enough to increase the size of your muscles.
Take a day off when you need time to recover. Your muscles should not hurt at the start of the workout. Overtraining can slow down your progress. You want to strain the muscles, but you also want to give them time to recover. Being sore the next day usually means you exercised too much. If the challenge is too difficult, try reducing the number of reps or the weight.
We're aiming to do 100 a day for 30 days for a total of 3,000 heel raises.
Are Standing Raises Enough?
The exercise is enough to strain your calves and quickly cause muscle fatigue. I could really feel my calf muscles during the workout and for a few minutes afterwards. The workouts hurt a little more than the other exercises I was doing. Thirty days was enough time. When I started I had trouble doing 25 in a row. By the end, I could do 100 in a row while holding two 10-pound dumbbells. My muscles became bigger and harder.
Standing calf raises are enough for large muscular calves, but they mainly target the gastrocnemius muscle. The other muscle called the soleus is worked more when your knees are bent.
You could target the soleus muscle by doing seated calf raises. You raise and lower your heels while sitting down with your knees bent at 90 degrees. When seated, rest the weight on your thighs to provide resistance. You might want to put a towel on your lap first or use a medicine ball.
Working out one muscle or one muscle group is not enough by itself. You should be including other leg exercises, upper body exercises and core exercises.
Are Calf Raises Necessary?
You don't need to do raises for large calves. Biking long distances, sprinting and going up large hills can give you similar results. Instead of 10 really quick workouts a week, you could do one or two really long workouts. If you prefer quick workouts, then I recommend these heel raises. If you like long difficult bike rides, then I recommend cycling to lose fat and gain muscle.
- Cycling is a much longer workout, and it is easier on my calf muscles. I could bike for hours, but my calves quickly gave out when I started doing heel raises.
- It also takes longer to recover. I can only bike long-distance one or two days a week.
- However, it works more muscles, burns more calories and is relaxing.
- I prefer biking to parks and beaches once a week over working out inside six days a week, but doing leg exercises at home for stronger legs makes me a better cyclist.
- Biking works the soleus, gastrocnemius, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
- Standing heel raises work the gastrocnemius muscles.
- Seated heel raises work the soleus muscles.
- Heel raises are better for huge calves.
For bigger stronger calves, I recommend calf raises and cycling.
Bigger, stronger calves look good, and they can make you feel good about your body. I like having really hard leg muscles. They allow me to sprint faster, jump higher, bike farther, and lift more weight. Strong leg muscles protect your legs and joints, so you are less likely to injure yourself while working or playing.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Michael H