Many people say that the calf muscles are one of the harder muscles to workout. However, the calves are one of the most used muscles, so it’s imperative to build functional calf muscles. Naturally, your body puts a lot of pressure on the calves to stay upright and perform our daily functions throughout the day. This strain is multiplied when we hit the gym or workout at home. Whether you work out at the gym or at home, it’s important that you incorporate exercises that will isolate the calves and hit them hard, forcing them to grow. Here, we outline the best calf workouts at home.
1. Double Calf Raises
When it comes to building the best possible calf muscle at home, you want to start with the simplest exercise of them all. That would be the double calf raise.
To perform the double calf raise, stand shoulders width apart. Push your bodyweight off of the ground by driving your toes into the ground and raising your heals.
To make this exercise more difficult and improve your results, you can do two things. First, you can add a weight (normally dumbbells) to each hand which increases the amount of weight and strain that’s placed on your calves. Secondly, you can stand with your toes on an elevated platform which increases the amount of rotation you can put on the calves.
2. Box Jumps
Grab a box that you can jump on to. Box jumps create explosive power in your calves and intensify muscle growth. You want to find a box that is reasonable regarding how high you can jump. You should be landing on your toes when you jump up. This is going to maintain the burning sensation and ensure your calves are activated at all times. To add more difficulty, increase the box height or number of repetitions. You can also challenge yourself by adding box jumps to a circuit training session and putting a timeline on it.
3. Monkey Leg Raises
This can be intense but it’s a nice step up from the weightless leg raises you might be doing at home. You can do this in two ways, and each one is useful depending on the situation at hand. You can either grab a person and let them “piggy back” on you as the movement is being completed or grab a heavy backpack that can perform the same job. It is up to you.
The goal is to do your double calf raises with serious weight on your back.
4. Single Leg Raises
Stand with your feet shoulder’s width apart. You are going to raise one leg off the ground while maintaining balance. The other leg is going to be used as the central part of this movement. You want to raise the leg (at the toes) and then back down again. You will do this for at least ten repetitions before switching legs and doing it on the other side.
It is also better to add a bit of weight in your hands to increase the pressure being put on your calf and increase the difficulty of the exercise.
5. Jump Rope
When it comes to calf workouts at home, you always want to increase the intensity, and there is nothing better for that than jump rope workouts. You want to grab a simple jump rope and start skipping for at least 10-15 minutes. This is not only good for the calves; but it is also great for the heart as well.
Jump rope workouts are a nice way to help your calves grow and help you improve your cardiovascular system as well. It is normally recommended to do this at the end of your workout as a burn out option when you are looking to put everything you have left into the movement. Jump roping is also a great exercise to add to a circuit training routine as it will keep the heart rate elevated.
6. Step Down Stretches
It’s not always about the pressure you are putting on the calves. It’s also about how you are stretching them out. Find a staircase near you and stand on the edge of a step. Only your toes should be touching the step, and everything else will be hanging off of the edge. You want to dip down as far as you can while keeping the toes on that step.
Keep doing this to spread out the calves and get them to loosen up. This helps with your general workouts and can be a nice way to feel the burn as well.
7. Seated Calf Raises
These are a nice way to begin your workout or finish them. You want to find a chair or bench on which you can sit down. The emphasis is on raising the heel off the ground with your toes. You are going to feel it through the calves. Nothing else should move when you are doing this movement. Using seated calf raises as a ‘burnout’ exercises is definitely one of the best calf workouts you can do at home.
8. Explosive Single Calf Raises
This is a variation on what has already been mentioned above. You are going to take the same movement with your single leg calf raises and add a wrinkle to it. You will be jumping off the ground at the top of motion. You want to “explode” up and aim to jump as high as you can to maximize the calf muscle. You want to remain stable, so landing in the same spot is mandatory. You don’t want to be all over the place with the movement.
Whether you just prefer working out at home or just don’t have the time to hit the gym, there is no reason to let your calf muscles suffer. The calves can be built with a just your bodyweight but your gains can be exploded with a set of dumbbells and a bench.
The Best Calf Workouts at Home: Final Thoughts
It’s important to use a variety of different exercises when you create a workout plan. Never just do the same exercises, with the same amount of weight, at the same pace over and over again. Always make sure that the exercise is becoming more difficult and that you’re progressing – otherwise, you’ll never see results.
P.S. When it comes to working out I home, I always recommend a set of adjustable dumbbells as there is virtually no muscle group that you can’t exercise with a set of them. They’re the all-in-one piece of equipment that will workout virtually every muscle between your feet and your shoulders. Between a set of adjustable dumbbells and bodyweight exercises, there isn’t any workout that you can’t kill!