Step up your gains and chisel your calves with these lower leg exercises

Stronger lower legs make you better at sprinting, running, and jumping. Plus, sculpted calves are great assets to have when you’re sporting shorts. Whether you’ve got sticks that need strengthening or burly tree trunks that could use more definition, these moves can help you build the legs you want.

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Calf Raise Off a Step –  This move extends your range of motion, improving mobility and working your leg muscles harder. Build up to multiple sets of 20 reps, pausing at the top and bottom for a full count. Progress to single-leg reps. For more stability, hold on to a power rack or a wall.


Seated Shin Raise – This works your shin and ankle muscles. Do 100 every time you train your calves (say, 5 sets of 20 reps). No machine? You can still do the move with no weight. Just do more reps and include long isometric holds: pause at the top, pulling your toes as far toward your shins as you can.


Skipping – Jumping over a rope will condition your calves, fortify your ankles, and help you build lower- body agility and power. Alternate 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest. That’s 1 round; do 10 to 20. And try different variations, like running in place or alternating legs.

Touch Your Toes! The belly lift walk-up delivers the mobility you need to touch your toes and nail big lifts

Directions: First, assume a push-up position with your hands slightly elevated, says physical therapist Doug Kechijian. Now “walk” your feet as close to your hands as possible, keeping your legs straight, and round your upper back with each footstep forward. Stop at the point just before your knees bend. Push your heels and palms into the floor and make your upper back as round as possible. Inhale deeply; then exhale. Don’t shrug your shoulders. That’s 1 rep. Do 5 consecutive reps every day.