Leg days may be quite difficult. You might be tempted to skip your calf exercise after punishing your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. But having toned, muscular calves has a tonne of advantages. They not only demonstrate your devotion to your fitness quest and attention to detail, but they are also essential in practical activities like jogging and walking. What’s best? To work on your calves, you don’t need access to expensive, large equipment. Calf exercises are simple to perform at home. We talked to Gaurav Pawar, the company’s CEO and creator, to learn more. It’s All About Journey offers individualised exercise, food, and mindset programmes to help you reach your fitness goals.
Can you explain the skeletal structure of the muscles that comprise the calf?
Mr Gaurav Pawar: Two muscles in the posterior leg and one in the anterior leg make up our calf. Here is how the anatomy of the calf can be broken down in order to better understand it:
Gastrocnemius: This muscle, which has two heads—the lateral head and the medial head—is the main one at the calf head. It acts on two joints and is a bi-articulate muscle. The first is the knee flexion, while the second is plantar flexion at the ankle joint.
Soleus: The Achilles tendon, the strongest tendon in our body, is joined to the soleus muscle. Under the gastrocnemius muscle, it is the larger calf muscle. This muscle can only do plantar flexion at the ankle joint.
Tibialis: This term refers to the tendons and muscles in the calf of the leg. They are important for a swing phase and are connected to foot motions. It’s also referred to as the runner’s muscle. It has an anterior and a posterior head. It performs a joint movement at the ankle joint called dorsi flexion.
What are some advantages of having strong calf muscles, aside from the aesthetics of having sculpted calves? How does it benefit a person’s general fitness?
GP: As we all are aware, the ankle joint—a weight-bearing joint—includes the calves. The muscles in our calves bear the weight of our entire body. It is a sophisticated muscle that is necessary for moving, running, and keeping our balance.
The calf muscles allow for quick, unrestricted movement of the legs and foot. The calf muscles in our body are designed to pump venous blood back towards the heart while you walk. Your body stores any blood that is not currently needed in circulation in the veins in your calves.
Our calves play a crucial part in mobility and flexibility to prevent ankle problems in addition to strengthening our legs.
How frequently should calves be worked out?
GP: Since the calf’s muscles are a complex that bears weight, recuperation is more important than training for them. If you don’t include exercises like sprinting or jumping in your regimen, you can practise them twice a week. If you routinely engage in these activities or if you experience pain, then you can train them once a week.
The 4 finest at-home, equipment-free calf exercises
Pawar was asked to suggest some simple exercises that could be done at home to strengthen the calves. Any workout regimen can include the exercises below.
Standing calf raises:
While standing on top of a step, elevate your feet’s heels into the air, then gently bring them back down. “Your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles will be targeted effectively by this workout. They improve stability and performance by fortifying the calf, according to Pawar.
Calf raises while seated:
For this version, you must sit down on a bench or chair and lift your heels off the floor so that your feet’s balls are on the floor. “The soleus muscle is the goal of this exercise. It is advantageous for those who find it hard to balance while performing standing calf raises,” says Pawar.
Raise your toes such that your weight is on your heels rather than raising your heels off the floor. Toe raises can be performed standing or unsupported, starting with sitting toe lifts. The tibialis anterior will be worked by this exercise. It helps with stability and mobility and works the lower leg muscles quite well, according to Pawar.
Place a towel beneath your feet while sitting down on a chair. To grab the towel, begin curling your toes. Hold that posture for a few seconds. This exercise targets your tibialis posterior, which is the main muscle responsible for the foot arch. This strengthens the feet and maintains the arches, according to Pawar.