Calf raises: Use three variations of this common exercise to build beautiful calves, and hit all the muscles of your lower leg. Balance off the edge (heels hanging off) of any surface, be it a stair, bench, or platform. First, lower yourself up and down 25 times with toes pointed forward. Relax for 30 seconds, hanging your heel off the edge and down to stretch. Do another 25 repetitions, this time with your toes pointed in toward each other. Repeat the rest and stretch. Finally, do another 25 repetitions with your toes pointed out and away from each other.
Use weights: Gradually build up to incorporating weights into your calf-raise routine. You can lower the number of repetitions of each set in order to increase the weight you’re holding in each hand.
Seated calf raises: If you belong to a gym, chances are you’ve seen the machines that work exclusively on the calf (you sit down, adjust the weight, and push away from the spot where your feet are resting). If you don’t belong to a gym, this is easy enough to replicate at home: Simply sit on a bench, chair, or step and put a weight on your lap. Raise your heels off the floor, squeezing hard to engage calves. Lower and repeat 15 to 20 times.
Tip-toe lunges: The great thing about this move is that it fires your quads, gluts, and hamstrings in addition to working your calves. Find a space where you can lunge across a large room or lawn. Begin lunging, one foot after another, but keep your heels entirely off the ground, staying on tip-toe the whole time.
Run stairs or on sand: In both cases, your calves are entirely engaged, and you will certainly feel it the next day. Bonus: If you’re on sand, run barefoot and in the softer sand for a supercharged calf workout.
Now find out how to whittle your waist and how to get exercise at work!
Nestpert: Leanne Shear is a writer, personal trainer, and coach. You can read more about her at LeanneShear.com.