Weight training exercises for calves should be part of any man’s or woman’s exercise program.

Calf muscles can be prone to muscle pain that can send you through the roof.

Not only can calf muscle pain be excruciating and force you to change your exercise program or limit your exercise routines, but tight calf muscles, i.e., stiff muscles, are a risk factor for plantar fasciitis, heel pain condition that will prevent you from running or playing sports.

Key Exercises for the Calves

Exercise machines just for calves. These exercise machines enable you to do calf lifts while either seated or standing. Just about every gym has one of these special calf exercise machines.

Shutterstock, Jasminko Ibrakovic

The seated version is best because it’s difficult to cheat on this type of equipment.

Jogging or running on high treadmill incline. You need jog for only a minute at a time to reap exercise benefits to calf muscles with this exercise treadmill routine.

So if you burn out after only a minute or two, that’s perfectly fine. But if you hold onto the machine, as many incline joggers do, you will waste your time and cheat your calf muscles. Do this exercise routine without grabbing the treadmill.

Step aerobics class. Yes, even if you’re a man, you should take a step class a few times a month to build stronger, better calf muscles via aerobic exercise.


But whether man or woman, set the stepper up higher than usual to really recruit more calf muscles.

Exercise bike. Pedal with just the balls of your feet.

Elliptical machine exercise. Pedal on the balls of your feet and go backwards. Keep your hands off the machine and instead move your arms as you would if you were running.

Walk on balls of feet, toes pointing inward. Okay, so you’ll look like an oddball when you do this, but if you are self-conscious of that, do this exercise routine in the privacy of an unoccupied aerobics studio at your gym.

Or at night down your street. Any on-your-toes exercise will recruit calf muscles.

Morning calf stretching exercises. Without fail, before you do anything else after getting out of bed, stretch each calf muscle for 30 seconds, twice, by placing one foot ahead of the other, back foot flat on floor, and leaning forward by bending the leg that’s in front.

Back leg stays straight. You will feel a pull in the calf muscle of the back leg.

Bunny-hop hills outdoors. Again, you need do this only for a minute here and there while hiking, walking, or just do the hopping in isolated fashion for several sets.

Jump rope. A minute here or there throughout the day will do just fine.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/TANAPAT LEK.JIW