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Give Those Legs a Lift: Building Strong Calf Muscles

Give Those Legs a Lift: Building Strong Calf Muscles



Where are my calf muscles?
What do my calf muscles do?
How do I get strong calves?
How do I stretch my calves?


Where are my calf muscles?
Their official names are gastrocnemius and soleus, but calf muscle is a lot easier to say. You'll find these muscles at the back of your lower leg. The gastrocnemius is the bulkier one, just below your knee. The soleus sits underneath the gastrocnemius and reaches down towards your ankle. back to top

What do my calf muscles do?
The big gastrocnemius does the heavy lifting when you go up on tiptoes. That comes in handy for ballet but also when you're stuck in a crowd and you want to see over some guy's head. The smaller soleus gets in on the action whenever you bend your knees. In other words, your calf muscles are working almost all the time. back to top

How do I get strong calves?
Any aerobic activity that involves pushing off with your toes works your calves. That includes pushing a skateboard uphill with one foot, walking, running, doing step aerobics, dancing, and kickboxing. You can strengthen your calves further with this exercise that's easy to do while you wait for the bus or talk on the phone. Try this resistance training exercise designed specifically to strengthen your calves: standing calf raises. back to top

How do I stretch my calves?
After you finish your strength training routine or after a run or aerobic workout, be sure to stretch your calf muscles. Stretching helps your muscles get rid of the lactic acid that builds up and makes you feel sore a day or two after your workout. Here is a calf stretch for the back of your leg that feels great after a challenging workout. back to top

 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 3/15/2001
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