Last Updated: February 27th, 2021
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A well-formed calf muscle will not only enhance the looks of your legs but will also help you to avoid a lot of injuries like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, etc. If you want to develop your calf muscles and are worried about your skinny legs, the below guide will provide you all the required steps to get started properly. This guide will be beneficial for runners and non-runners alike.
How To Build Calf Muscles For Skinny Legs?
To build calf muscles for skinny legs, you will have to increase the intensity of your workout for the calf muscles and will have to have a lot of protein. You can also include incline walks or run in your schedule or walk around your house with weighted ankle belts.
If you want to know more and get the detailed steps, then read on…
5 Exercise to build calf muscles for beginners
If you have skinny legs and want to develop your calf muscles, probably you are just starting off with a training regime or running.
However, you can build your calf muscles simply by increasing the intensity of your day to day activity. If you want a more focused approach, here are some dedicated calf exercises for beginners that will increase the strength of your calf muscles. This will also help you to avoid calf pain when you begin your training.
1. Walking/Running on an incline
This technique you can use both indoors or outdoors.
- Find an incline. (For treadmills you can set them according to your comfort level. Don’t go overboard with this).
- Start by walking or running on that incline for 15-20 min.
- Do this 3 times a week.
One word of caution. If you are just starting, you might be tempted to skimp spending on your running shoe. The effects will be detrimental and you will have to deal with a lot of soreness and stiffness afterward. Avoid this mistake and get yourself a proper running shoe that will save you from this aftermath.
If doing this outdoors, you can run on a higher elevation road or a hill. For me, hills are far away from my residence, but there are some parks which have different terrains. I generally run there if I want to do more calf muscle intensive training.
This is an exercise that will put direct pressure on your calf muscles. Also, there are some variations that will increase its effectiveness more.
- Spread your legs hip-width apart while standing in front of a wall.
- Place your hands on the wall at shoulder level.
- Raise your heels as high as possible keeping your toes on the ground.
- Hold for a couple of seconds.
- Lower your heels to the ground.
- Repeat for 40 counts of 4 sets.
There are many variations of this basic exercise. You can do this while seated and placing some weight on your lap.
If you get used to normal standing raises, you can try to increase the difficulty by placing some weights on the shoulders.
You may as well challenge yourself by wrapping some weights around your ankles.
3. Walking around with ankle weights
This may be one of the easiest ways to build your calf muscles yet very effective. You will not have to dedicate any extra time to work your calf muscles. Also, you can use this technique while you are doing your household.
- Get an ankle weight of your choice. It’s better to start with a lighter one.
- Tie it around your ankles and go on to do your household work.
- You can keep it on for 30-40 min and then untie it.
- Also, if you want, you can use these weights while you are running outside or on your treadmill.
- You should be able to see visible results in a couple of weeks.
4. Calf flex with resistance band
This is another easy technique that you can do from the comfort of your home. Also, you will need only a resistance band to implement this.
- Sit with your leg stretched in front of you.
- Straighten your back.
- Wrap a resistance band around your feet.
- Now flex with your toes pointing to the front and away from you. Then flex in backward so that your toes point towards yourself.
- Do this for 20 times 3 sets.
You need not go beyond 20 reps with this exercise. If you feel that this is becoming too easy for you, then increase the resistance by using a higher resistance band or combining more than one resistance band.
This is one of the most common ways to develop your calf muscles. Also, you will be doing two things at once. You will be working on your speed and also you will be improving the strength of your calf muscles.
- Decide on the length and duration of your sprint.
- Run as hard as you can as the timer goes off.
- Take rest for 30 secs.
- Repeat 2 more times.
Increasing the intensity of your running will put additional stress on your calf muscles forcing them to adapt and get stronger.
Do these exercises 3 times a week to see some visible results sooner. However, when performing these exercises, keep in mind that you should not commit the below mistakes to jeopardize your results.
Mistakes to avoid when trying to develop your calf muscles
While dedicating a certain amount of time to develop your calf muscles will yield faster results, make sure you avoid the below mistakes.
Focusing only on exercises
If your legs are leaner then it goes beyond saying that you are a lean individual. Based on your fitness level, you may be either strong or needs to improve your strength.
However, no matter what, focusing only on calf raises will not get you very far. You will have to work on your nutrition.
To develop more muscles, most of us use a more protein-based diet. Include lots of fish, eggs, lean meat in your diet. Vegetarians can go for paneer, tofu, and legumes.
If you don’t take care of your diet, you will not see many results. Your diet is probably the most important thing when you want to see a lasting change.
Too much too quickly
More weights equal more muscle. This is the mindset that most of us have.
And who doesn’t want to save some time…
So what you do?
You go all out and overload yourself with the most challenging workout and fail. You are sore for days and so much so that you don’t want to work out again.
Worse, you hurt yourself and have to tend to your injury and be on a break for a couple of weeks.
To avoid all these, start slow…you will have to get used to the workout first, and then increase the intensity gradually.
Also when you are starting, pick up 1 or 2 exercises from the above-mentioned list and focus on getting better at that.
Not putting sufficient efforts
This problem is the polar opposite of the mistake described above. Here you are not challenging yourself enough to see a proper result.
Here either you are going for way fewer reps or running with not enough speed. To tackle this problem here is what you should do.
Find out your failure point. This is the point after which you cannot do another rep without compromising your form.
Once you have figured that out, do 3 fewer reps than that number. Effectively you will be putting in just enough work and your muscles will be not so sore that you will give up on your workout.
If you follow the above guidelines and stick to your workout schedule, you will be able to build your calf muscles fairly quickly, even if you have skinny legs.
Also, don’t only focus on your calf muscle, try to improve your overall fitness to have a more sustainable result.
Maffulli, Nicola, et al. “Eccentric calf muscle training in athletic patients with Achilles tendinopathy.” Disability and rehabilitation 30.20-22 (2008): 1677-1684.
Macklin, K., Healy, A. and Chockalingam, N., 2012. The effect of calf muscle stretching exercises on ankle joint dorsiflexion and dynamic foot pressures, force and related temporal parameters. The Foot, 22(1), pp.10-17.
Fisher, James P., Martin PD Bell, and Michael J. White. “Cardiovascular responses to human calf muscle stretch during varying levels of muscle metaboreflex activation.” Experimental physiology 90, no. 5 (2005): 773-781.
Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.