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The Best Calf-Toning Exercises

author image Carrie Cronkite
Carrie Cronkite started freelance writing in 2010. She has published work with various websites, specializing in health, wellness and nutrition. Cronkite has worked in various fields of nursing for over 13 years, including nephrology. Cronkite holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Fort Kent in Maine.
The Best Calf-Toning Exercises
A man is stretching his legs. Photo Credit littlehenrabi/iStock/Getty Images

Exercises to tone your calf muscles will strengthen your legs, give them definition and make them more shapely. Having stronger calf muscles gives you more energy and endurance to carry out your daily activities. The best calf exercises to tone your legs are exercises that can be performed just about anywhere and are easy to do, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.

Calf Muscles

Your calf muscle consists of two muscles. The gastrocnemius, which is the large muscle at the back of your lower leg. This is the calf muscle that functions to elevate your heel. The second calf muscle is the soleus, which is a smaller muscle and lays under the gastrocnemius. The soleus is responsible for the function of lifting your heels with your knees bent.

Heel Raise

The heel raise is a powerful way of toning your calf muscle by concentrating your body weight on one leg. Balance yourself by standing on your right foot with your left foot behind your right calf. Slowly raise up on the ball of your right foot, contracting your calf at the top of the lift. Relax and lower to the starting position. Do five repetitions on each leg, gradually increasing to 10 repetitions.

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Side Lunges

Performing side lunges will tone and strengthen your calf muscles to maintain balance. While standing up straight with legs shoulder-width apart, turn your torso to the right, Turn your right foot to point in the same direction. Slowly lunge halfway down, bending at the knee feeling the stretch in your calf. Slowly raise back up to starting position. Do five lunges with each leg, slowly working up to 10 repetitions.

Calf Lift

The calf lift is an exercise that tones your calf muscles and defines the muscle. Standing with your hands on your hips or resting them on an object in front of you. Raise up on your toes, feeling the stretch in your calf muscles. Hold this position for three seconds and lower. Do five repetitions, gradually increasing to 10 repetitions.

Calf Raise on Step

Step calf raises tone and define your calf muscles. Stand on a step or on a couple of books, with your heel freely hanging over the edge. Hold onto an object in front of you, such as a chair, for balance. Raise up on the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds and lower your heels down, lower than the level of the step. Do five repetitions, gradually increasing to 10 repetitions. When you have mastered this exercise, performing this exercise one leg at time will give you a more intense workout.


Perform exercises for your calf muscles every second day. Leave a day in between for rest and recovery.

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