The calf muscles are often overlooked during muscle-building routines. For sexy legs, you'll want to target the inner calf muscles: the gastrocnemius, flexor digitorum longus and soleus. Since these muscles are utilized in every movement performed on your feet -- from walking to jumping -- strengthening them requires pushing the resistance limits. Perform strengthening exercises that isolate the inner calves two to three times per week, taking one to two days off to allow muscles to rest and recover.
Perform three sets of 10 to 15 seated calf muscle raises. Sit with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, placing weight on your knees or using a machine designed for this exercise. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your heels as high as you can while contracting your soleus muscle group which is the smaller group of muscles on the lower part of the calf. Hold the contraction at the top of the heel raise for three to five seconds.
Stand on a platform or stair so you can place the balls of your feet on the edge with your heels hanging over the back ledge to perform a standing calf raise. With a barbell along your back shoulders, drop your heels down below the level of the edge, then raise them up as high as you can get on the balls of your feet. Hold the contraction at the top to work the gastrocnemius muscle group, which is the larger muscle group centered at the upper back of the calf. Do three sets of 15 to 20 standing calf raises.
Jump rope, run or skip for 20 minutes to build stamina in the calf muscles while bouncing up and down. Stay on your toes while doing this to focus on the calves. Jump rope two to three times per week to get a cardiovascular workout and build calf muscle strength and stamina.
Adjust the angles of your toes to target the inner calf muscles more intensely. Pointing your toes inward when doing calf raises increases the work on the medial part of the muscles, while pointing them out works the lateral area of the muscles.
Items you will need
- ✓ Jump rope
- ✓ Various weights
- ✓ Barbell
- ✓ Ankle weights
- ✓ Exercise shoes
- ✓ Ledge or step of some sort
- Stretch your muscles extensively before performing strength exercises. Pulling your toes up and pointing them down stretches the calf.
- Increase the weight. Whether it is a calf raise or jumping rope, add weight to really stress the inner calf muscles. Use ankle weights when running or jumping rope to increase the demand on the muscles.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.