You might not want straight-up tree trunks for legs, but if you’re craving more solid muscle mass—especially in the notoriously tough-to-build calves—you need targeted calf exercises, aside from just hammering your lower body in colossal leg-day workouts.
Calves can be especially tough. We’ve heard plenty of lifters complain that they just don’t have the right genetics to build big calf muscles. But these stubborn muscles can grow, if you approach your workouts the right way.
First some anatomy: The calf is made up of two main muscles. The gastrocnemius is a lower leg muscle that sits just under the skin, which makes up the bulk of the calf; and the soleus, a wide, flat muscle that starts below your knee and runs down your lower leg, connecting to the Achilles tendon above the heel. They connect the knee and ankle join to help with knee flexion and extension so you can walk, run, and jump
Here, we’ve compiled some of the greatest muscle-building calf exercises (think single-leg calf raise) you can do to add some definition to your skinny legs. Try these on for size during your next leg day workout, being sure to move methodically with proper range of motion to really stimulate the muscles. Also consider working in some more explosive cardio like sprinting and jump rope to help develop stronger, more muscular calves. They’ll create microtears in the muscle fiber that’ll cause the body to send blood and nutrients to the cells in need, growing them bigger and stronger.
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