10 December 2020

Calf Slimming Exercises: Exercises for Thinner Lower Legs

You cannot ‘slim’ your calves- at least, not in isolation. There is no way to spot target them for fat loss, as spot targeting doesn’t work. However, you can do a lot to make them appear slimmer and to bring down bodyfat around them.

How to get smaller calves

To get smaller calves, you would need to do absolutely nothing, in order to elicit atrophhy, whilst starving yourself to simultaneously maintain a caloric deficit and a sedentary lifestyle.

Calves are used in pretty much any form of exercise, especially things like walking or running. Though there are exceptions to this rule- swimming, pure upper body training whilst seated, and so on- it is generally impractical to try to take calves out of the equation when talking of movement. Therefore, to shrink them would take almost total rest.

However, to get slimmer, toned looking calves, there are two things you can do.

Firstly, maintain a caloric deficit. This can be through a combination of diet- eating less- and cardio- moving more. A deficit of 500 calories per day will have you losing roughly 1lb/0.5kg of bodyfat per week.

Secondly, train your thighs to elicit hypertrophy- muscle growth. This will give them a shaped, muscular look as you strip the fat away.

The best exercises for thinner lower legs

To achieve these two goals, you will need a combination of cardiovascular work to burn calories, and resistance work to build muscle.

The best forms of cardio for burning fat include HIIT, sprints and circuits- things that bring your heart rate up to 85%+ of its max. Explosive lower body movements like track sprinting will also help to build up your calves.

Common, effective exercises for calf building muscle, thus achieving a toned look, include:

  • Calf raises: standing with your feet hip width apart, come up onto the balls of your feet, then drop back down. Repeat for a high number of reps (around 20 should suffice). Feel free to perform with a barbell across your shoulders or dumbbells in your hands.
  • Box jumps: place a box around hip height and jump explosively onto it. To increase resistance, try to jump from as static a position as possible, or use a taller box.
  • Unilateral calf presses: use a leg press machine for this. Place one foot on the pad and straighten your leg to full extension. From here, perform calf raises as above, one foot at a time. Repeat on each side.

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