Increasing numbers of people, particularly women, are unhappy with the size of their calves and are many are seriously considering calf reduction surgery. However, there are other, less invasive, means than calf reduction to slim down calves. Find out what causes large calves and what you can do to lose weight and slim calves.
TO SLIM DOWN CALVES:
1. Keep your heels down and avoid walking on the ball of your foot.
2. RUN to slim calves and reshape legs. Running is a powerful tool that allows you to slim down your legs and calves. Think about the physique of short- and long-distance runners. Endurance runners usually have thin legs, as opposed to sprinters who have very well developed calves and thigh muscles. Sprinting develops the calves, but endurance running does not and will in fact slim down calves. Run slower, but for longer distances (endurance running). To slim down your legs, slim thighs and calf muscles, do endurance cardio with little to no resistance. That means running on flat terrain when outdoors or keeping the resistance/ incline low on the cardio machines in the gym. This will slim down your legs and slim down your calves, while keeping your legs firm and shapely. Endurance running can reduce the size of the actual calf muscle and reduce the fatty tissue around it (and everywhere else), that is making the calf look bulky. Put simply, it helps you lose fat from calves and it helps reduce muscle mass.
3. Avoid activities that primarily call for strength, power and speed from your legs muscles, as they will create bigger bulkier muscle. For example, short intense cardio workouts, workouts that require strength and exercises that involve resistance, incline or going up hills. Steep inclines on the treadmill particularly and hill running will develop calves and make big calves even larger.
4. Avoid high-impact jumping movements, such as rope jumping. Swimming, walking, cross-training and the elliptical trainer are great to slim down calf muscles. The elliptical trainer is an excellent tool for low-impact cardio. However, keep the resistance on the low. Instead of burning calories by increasing resistance, exercise for longer periods. Walking slims down the lower legs as it lengthens the muscles between the back of the knee and the ankle.
5. Avoid the step machine and other types of climbing exercises, as these type of exercises target the calf muscles to increase size. Remember, your goal is to lose bulky calf muscle, i.e. to slim it down, not make to big calf muscles bigger.
6. Resistance Training. You can either avoid training this area completely or if you prefer use light weights and high reps. Resistance exercises that target the calf muscles will tend to increase the size of the calf muscle – not slim down calves.In other words, resistance training is more likely to give you big calves, than make your calves smaller. Remember there is no such thing as spot reduction. If you need to lose fat around your calf muscles you can only do so through diet, cardio or even liposuction of calves. But you cannot do exercises that will reduce the fat around the calf muscles alone.
7. Stretching makes big muscles appear longer and leaner. Stretching lengthens bulked-up muscles. You could try stretching classes, yoga or Pilates. A great stretching exercise for the calf muscles is a wall push-up. Stand with your front foot approximately one foot from a wall and your back foot about three feet from a wall. Your back leg should be straight, the front leg bent and your hands resting against the wall, while you lean forward. Your feet should be pointing straight ahead and your heels on the ground. Hold for 15 – 30 seconds, switch legs and repeat. You should feel the stretch in the back of your leg. This stretching exercise should help lengthen calves.
8. Pilates is an excellent tool to shape and elongate your calves, legs and body.
9. Ankle circles moves: Sit on a chair, with your back straight and firmly against the back of the chair. Slowly circle your left foot clockwise. Do this six times. Then repeat counter-clockwise six times. Repeat the exercise with the right foot.
10. Find out the causes of big calves: Find out why you have large calves and address the cause.
12. Learn about how to slim down legs.
13. VISUAL IMPACT. Check out Visual Impact for Women (there’s also Visual Impact for Men). If you need to reduce inches – fat or muscle – or feel you are overly muscular it is certainly is worth investigating. The author tackles the issue of wanting to get fit and lean without getting big or bulky head on. The program specifically addresses the problem of being overly muscular and takes it seriously; offering a strategy that encompasses diet, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training aimed at reducing – not gaining – inches. In chapter 1 the author has this to say:
“Sick of hearing that it impossible for you to gain too much muscle because you don’t have enough testosterone? I will discuss that and other myths told to women on a consistent basis.” Visual Impact for Women also has solutions on how to decrease muscle mass, if you feel you are too bulky. Here’s a description from one of the chapters (Chapter 19: How to Lose Muscle Mass on Purpose) of Visual Impact for Women:
“Legions of women have muscular thighs and calves that they would like to make slim and defined. This is common especially with women who have been given poor training advice. Despite this being a taboo subject, I’m going to give you a strategy that works.”