ZocdocAnswersHow do I tone my calves?

Question

How do I tone my calves?

In the past six months my calves have gotten really big and swollen. It's not fat but it's really wobbly. I'm generally a pretty slim person, my bmi is about 18; I have put on some weight in past months but not huge amounts. My calves are about 30cm in circumference and they look big in comparison to the rest of my body. I find this really embarrassing. What can I do?

Answer

The calves, also known as the gastrocnemius muscles, are used by the body to lift the heel off the ground when walking or running. There are many exercises you can perform to increase the mass and tone of these muscles. You should talk to a physical therapist about some of the exercises listed below to figure out the best workout plan to achieve your goals. In general, to tone a muscle group involves doing many repetitions of low weight bearing activity. For example, if you were to stand on the edge of a step and slowly lower and raise your heel from below the step to above the step, this should help tone your calf muscle. Using a weight machine with heavy resistance will help increase the bulk of your calf muscles and may not be the best plan for you given your stated goal. Other ways to work out your calf muscles include running, jogging, brisk walking and "stairclimber" machines that can be found at most local gyms. It is not possible to come up with a proper exercise plan without seeing a physical therapist. I strongly recommend you consult a trainer or physical therapist to help determine the best way to achieve your fitness foals.

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