Here’s a sweetheart of an exercise group to create gorgeous heart-shaped calves no matter where you are. Calves are stubborn because of the difficulty of getting blood circulating in the lower legs. You have to work the hell out of them by stretching, jumping and lifting.
My favorite calf raise is springing up and down on one leg. Go up on the ball of your foot’your tiptoes’lower and repeat till failure and then switch to the other foot. It’s a killer exercise.
You can do calf raises in a number of ways’with your toes pointing in, then with toes out. That helps stimulate all the calf muscle fibers. To do calf raises at home, stand on a chair with your toes on the edge of the seat and your hands supporting you on the back of the chair. If that doesn’t work or is too clumsy, find a high block or step. Now lower your heels as far as you can, and then rise up as high as you can. Repeat that up and down motion till the burn is too much.
You can also do donkey calf raises, the killer of them all. Use a calf block, and find a sturdy high surface to rest your forearms on. Then find someone of comparable size to sit on your lower back. Stand on the calf block on the balls of your feet, with your heels hanging off the edge, and bend over to 90 degrees, resting your forearms on the surface. Have your partner get on your back, and you’re ready. Rise up and down. Keep your knees straight and inhale as you descend as low as you can without letting your heels touch the floor. Exhale as you rise on your toes as high as possible.
Those three exercises will have your calf muscles shaking with exhaustion, but that’s exactly how you construct show-stopping calves. Do two or three rounds, taking as little rest between exercises as possible.
Editor’s note: As of September 2004 Jack LaLanne had lived 90 years, 75 of them steeped in innovative physical training. He was runner-up in the ’54 Mr. America contest and created the longest-running fitness show in television history. He’s also famous for performing shackled and handcuffed swimming feats to celebrate key birthdays. Jack still works out two hours a day. For more information, check out his Web site, www.jacklalanne.com.