6 Best Calf Exercises You Should Do at the Gym to Get Toned Calves

Best calf exercises for well-toned calves. (Image via Pexels/Photo by kinkate)
Best calf exercises for well-toned calves. (Image via Pexels/Photo by kinkate)

It's important to be aware of the best calf exercises. Well-toned and muscular calves are an important element of the lower body, as they provide ample benefits such as balance and shape, among others.

Calf muscle exercises often do not get the attention they deserve, unlike quads and hamstrings during leg days. However, you must consciously make it a point to work those muscles.

Here are the six best calf exercises to include in your next leg day:

1) Standing calf raises

Calf raises. (Image credits: Pexels/ Victor Freitas)
Calf raises. (Image credits: Pexels/ Victor Freitas)

Standing calf raises are one of the most common yet best calf exercises. Stand holding a support, and raise your weight from the toes using your calves. Ideally, your heels shouldn’t touch the ground. It’s helpful to do this exercise on a stair or small bench, where the heels can stick outwards.

You can do this exercise with a dumbbell or weighted plate as well. However, for better balance, do a standing single calf raise when using weights. Use your other hand for balance.

2) Seated calf raises

Seated calf raises are done with weights. Pace the weight on your quadriceps, and push the weight upwards using your toes and calf muscles. Try to find a spot where your heels can stick outwards.

Some gyms have seated calf raise machines. If your gym has one, you must use it.

3) Bent knee calf raises

Stand in a slightly squated position. Find something to hold for balance, and proceed to do calf raises while maintaining a bent knee.

If you’re doing this exercise for the first time, you may experience muscle cramps. That is because during a bent knee calf raise, your entire leg is being worked on. Not only is this exercise one of the best for calves, but it is also good for improving overall muscle endurance.

4) Single leg calf raises

Single leg calf raises. (Image credits: Freepik)
Single leg calf raises. (Image credits: Freepik)

This exercise is similar to standing calf raises, but you do one leg at a time. In fact, you can pair this exercise with standing calf raises, and add weights to it to make it single leg calf raises.

5) Raised heel squat

Go on your toes, and proceed to do squats. Go down as much as possible, and come up by using your calf muscles. Heel elevated squats will work your calf muscles and quads.

6) Cardio forms

Cardio. (Image credits: Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)
Cardio. (Image credits: Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)

Certain forms of body weight cardio such as jumping jacks, butt kicks, jump squats and jump ropes are good exercises for calf muscles. These exercises help in improving the endurance and increasing the strength of calf muscles.

Tips to enhance the best calf exercises

When you’re doing the best calf exercises, you must be aware of some tips that will help you tone your calves and give the muscles a better shape.

Stick to the basics

Calf exercises do not need to be extravagant or extremely complex. Stick to the basic exercises, and make sure you’re working your calves at least twice or thrice a week. It doesn’t have to be on consecutive days, but as calves are a smaller muscle group, they’ll benefit from multiple workout sessions during a week.

Rest your calves

Focusing only on the best calf muscles does not help. You need to focus on resting your calf muscles too. As they’re a smaller group, it’ll take them less time to recover, but they need at least 24 to 36 hours of proper rest.

Change feet position

You will benefit from using different foot/toe positions while doing calf exercises. While most exercises are done with your toes pointing straight, you can do standing calf raises and seated calf raises with your toes pointed inwards and outwards.

Cool down

Usually, every time you’re walking, your calf muscles get worked on. However, unless you’re power walking everywhere, your calves aren’t getting tired all the time.

On the contrary, when you do an intense workout, it impacts your calf muscles. Therefore, always cool down once you’re done stretching the muscles. That helps avoids muscle soreness the next day of calf muscle workout.

Edited by Bhargav