How To Tone Calves Without Bulking Up – A Simple Plan

Having strong feminine calf muscles isn’t as desired as it used to be. The popularity of glutes and booty (Exercises For Bigger Hips and Thighs) has left lean shapely legs and calves in the dust.

How to Tone Calves Without Bulking up is mainly by just doing bodyweight exercises.

This doesn’t mean your calves should be ignored. Every time you work your legs you should be incorporating a calf workout. The calf muscles are a key component to walking, running, pointing your toes, and preventing injury all the way up through your back.

Every time you take a step or jump, your calves along with your quads are engaged. If you have tight or immobile calves, you’re at greater risk of plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, shin splints, and hip/back pain.

The best way to get more feminine calves is to do high repetition with little to no weight calf exercises that focus on working both the soleus and gastrocnemius muscle. If you would like a more pronounced curve, you’ll need to add resistance to your exercises.

The calf muscle group is mainly comprised of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. There are more secondary muscles that make up the anatomy of the calve muscle but these two are the most prominent.

Soleus Muscle

The soleus muscle is the longer of the two and runs underneath the more prominent gastrocnemius muscle. While just as important to train this one, it’s not the “sexy” muscle that people tend to focus on.

Gastrocnemius Muscle

The gastrocnemius muscle is the rounder of the two. Men tend to try to add mass to this muscle to give that bulbous look. Women usually prefer a more feminine, shapely calf. And the exercises below will help shape those so desired calves.

I have a routine that I do for my calf muscles, but I’ve found a video that does a fantastic job of showing you a step by step work that focuses on building feminine calf muscles.

How to Slim Calves

Genetics can play a role in how big your calves are. I have some friends that don’t workout at all and have very defined calves, and it’s so frustrating. The one thing they do maintain is keeping their bodyfat under control. The best thing you can do to slim down your calves is staying away from foods that are high in sugar, highly processed, or high in tans-fat. Along with proper nutrition, some common exercises will help slim down your calves.

  1. Using heavy weights while doing calf workouts. If you’re packing on the weight, this will lead to muscle growth, which is good, but it can cause your calf muscles to blow up if you’re one of those people that pack on muscle quickly. Stick to lower weights and more repetitions.
  2. Do more cardio workouts. Cardio is a great way to burn off calories. Doing high-intensity interval training and regular cardio will keep you in a calorie deficit. If possible do some hill runs or walks as these will really work your calves.
  3. Reduce overall body fat. If your body fat is high, your calves will have a thicker less defined appearance. By reducing your overall body fat, it will give your calves a slimmer look.

My Calf Exercises

Seated Raises – seated raises is one of my go-to calf exercises. The biggest thing I focus on when doing them is to go light weight and to go slow. If I just power through like I’m in a hurry, I can tell I didn’t work them well. The amount of weight will vary from person to person. But a 45 plate is a good start. Be sure to use the full range of motion and you’ll feel the burn.

Sled Push – the sled push is great at working your legs in general, but your calves will take the brunt of the exercise. With this one, again I go lighter weight, but I try to be a little explosive when pushing off. The initial push should really hit the calf muscle and get them working.

Jump Rope – did you know that using a jump rope for an hour will likely burn more calories compared to running? Yeah, that’s why all those boxers are so fit. A jump rope is basically a continuous standing calf exercise. If you’re new to using a jump rope, it’s not as easy as you may think. After a mere 10 minutes, your heart will be racing and your calf muscles will be burning.

Mountain Climbers – this one is similar to the sled pushes, without the actual sled. Again, you’re forcing your calf muscle to do a large portion of the work. If you can pump through 3 sets of 20, you’ll feel your calf muscles pumping the blood through. Additionally, your increase in heart rate will burn through those calories. Add in some light ankle weights (Best Ankle Weights For Sculpted Glutes) to really burn through the calories!

If you follow the routine in the video you’ll be on your way to shapely and functional calf muscles that look great in heels!

Check out this video!

The Bigger Picture

Like any body part that you want to show some definition, you need to make sure your body fat isn’t covering it up. You could be doing all the correct workouts, but if you’re not eating correctly, they’ll be under a layer of fat, and this can make them appear bulky.

By eating nutritious meals (How To Speed Up Your Metabolism), doing a combination of weight resistance and cardio exercises (Best Compact Treadmills For Running), you’ll decrease your body fat percentage, and you’ll lose that layer of fat that might be hiding your shapely calves. This will reduce the “bulky” look and provide the sexy-looking calf muscle you’re trying to get.

Working your calves should be part of a full-body routine. If you need an at-home workout you can check out the LifePro Flex Elliptical. This under-desk/at-home elliptical is excellent for working your calves. Not to mention it has a lifetime warranty. As I mentioned above, a little bit of resistance will help with creating the perfect amount of curve for your calves. With 8 levels of resistance, this seated elliptical could be an irreplaceable asset for your calves.

FAQ on Calf Muscles

How often can I train my calf muscles?

The calf muscles are notoriously difficult to build. They are also resilient like the abs, meaning you can easily train them frequently. If you’re hitting them hard, you’ll need to let them rest just like any other muscle.

What is the best exercise for calf muscles?

Doing a mixture of calf raises and calf presses. These can both be done while standing and seated. Do both to give yourself a well-rounded workout.

How do I add size to my calf muscles?

Just like any other muscle in your body, you need to fatigue the muscle so that it has the opportunity to build itself up. Proper nutrition and fuel to help build the muscle will have a significant impact as well.

Do genetics play a role in the size of my calves?

Yes, the amount of slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers in your muscles can impact the size and speediness of muscle growth.

What is your favorite calf muscle workout? Leave a comment below.

Leave a Comment