Table of Contents
- 1. Big Calves – Causes
- 2. Don’t Pump Up Your Calves – Avoid These Exercises
- 2.1. Stop Intense Workouts
- 2.2. Running on an Inclined Surface
- 2.3. Uphill Sprints
- 2.4. Skipping and Jumping Rope
- 2.5. Plyometrics
- 3. 5 Ways to Slim Down Your Calves!
- 3.1. Lose Weight
- 3.2. Switch to Low-Intensity Cardio
- 3.3. Use Treadmill
- 3.4. Pilates and Yoga
- 3.5. Stretch
- 4. Final Thoughts
Are you spending hours in the gym trying to slim down your calf muscles? Do you become envious when your friend flaunts her slender calves? Are you unable to wear your favorite summer dress because your lower legs make you look manly? Rest assured, you are not alone. Sculpting calves to a desirable size can be challenging.
You may have given your all in the gym, given up your guilty pleasures, and underwent a diet to make your calves reduce half an inch, to no avail. Calves are a stubborn group of muscles due to many reasons.
Read on to find out why nothing works on your calves!
1. Big Calves – Causes
First and foremost, let’s determine what is causing your calves to grow so big. Usually, it is the accumulation of fat or the building of muscles that causes this growth. But the most troublesome cause is genetics. Yes, your genes can be a detriment to the “calf department.” Let’s delve a bit deeper into these three important “anti-slimming agents.”
You are what you inherited; calf size is determined by your genes. Your parents and siblings might have a calf size similar to yours. Some people are naturally blessed with slimmer calf genes, while others have thicker calves.
Slimming Down Genetically Muscular Calves – What Are the Odds?
If you have genetically beefy calves, slimming them down can be extremely difficult as you may only see only minor changes even after a lot of consistent workouts.
Genes influence the other two causes, fat and muscle, as well.
Fat is another obstacle in your way to slim, slender beautiful thighs. Losing fat in the calf region involves losing overall body fat.
Sometimes for women, it is difficult to shed those pounds because most of the extra fat is stored in their legs. Genetics plays a role here as well. Every person has a weight-gaining pattern. It is difficult to lose weight in the lower body if your weight-gaining pattern is along the thighs and calves.
If you are into exercising and weight loss, there is a fair chance that muscle build-up is making your calves bulkier. Doing a strenuous workout while having a genetic predisposition for muscular calves can make matters worse.
In case your genetics have nothing to do with it, then your exercise routine is to be blamed.
2. Don’t Pump Up Your Calves – Avoid These Exercises
There are a number of exercises that work out your calves such as cycling, brisk walking, running, and uphill sprinting. All the listed exercises are a great way to achieve your fitness and health goals, but they are not suitable for you if you want slimmer calves.
2.1. Stop Intense Workouts
When you do vigorous exercise, your calf muscles start to develop more to endure the activity they are being subjected to. Hence, you must stop doing all sorts of intense workouts. Once you allow your muscles to rest, they will eventually reduce in size on their own. If you are a gym enthusiast and don’t want to stop exercising, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider the exercise routine.
2.2. Running on an Inclined Surface
Does running make your calves slimmer? The answer to this frequently asked question is a yes. Running is great to slim down your calves but make sure that you stick to flat surfaces. Running for long hours – steady cardio – is also great.
However, walking or running on an incline, whether on an inclined track or a treadmill, is not recommended. These cardio exercises will bulk up your calves. So, running on an inclined surface is a big no.
2.3. Uphill Sprints
Uphill sprints are similar to running on an incline in terms of their effect on calf size. Hiking and sprinting up steep hills should be avoided.
2.4. Skipping and Jumping Rope
The skipping “gait” has immense health benefits, even more so than running, but the movement mainly works for your calves. Therefore, you better avoid skipping and jumping rope if bigger calves concern you. For smaller calves, opt for walking and running only.
Moreover, jumping rope also bulks up the calves, therefore causing an opposite effect.
Plyometric exercises use force and speed to increase muscle power. Plyometrics include hopping, jump squats, and clap push-ups, just to name a few. Stop doing all lower-body plyometric exercises completely or bring them to a minimum. This is because calf muscles are worked and get bigger when you stand on your toes, jump, and land heavily on your feet.
3. 5 Ways to Slim Down Your Calves!
3.1. Lose Weight
Light exercise such as stretching and reduced calorie intake can help you to lose all the excess fat in your calf muscles eventually. Add more lean proteins, fresh vegetables, and whole grains, eating small portions to create a calorie deficit.
Use an online calorie calculator to keep track of how many calories you are consuming and how much you should consume, instead.
3.2. Switch to Low-Intensity Cardio
Low-intensity cardio is a great way to lose fat without building up muscle. Burn more calories by working out in a way that you gain no extra muscle and achieve slender calves.
Low-intensity cardio exercises have the following benefits:
- Weight loss
- Lean legs
- Muscle reduction
- Better mood
- Gentle on your joints and muscles, do not cause injury.
3.3. Use Treadmill
A treadmill is great for slimming your legs because when you run on the hard ground, your calf muscle contracts to flex your ankle and propel you forward. Contrarily, the treadmill moves on its own, reducing the effort and size of your calves.
This is only a theory, but because the treadmill is another form of straight path running, you should take it up.
3.4. Pilates and Yoga
Strengthening your muscles decrease their susceptibility to injury, damage, and atrophy. If you do strength training with weights, change your routine to pilates and yoga. These exercises elongate muscles, plus enhance endurance and strength without making them bulky. The fact that yoga tones the body and improves posture is a bonus.
Stretching will prove to be a reliable exercise throughout the “slimming journey.” Devise a 10-15 minute warm-up routine first, then follow that up with a 5-10 minute stretch.
If you plan to exercise after stretching, then it is recommended that you do a dynamic stretch. Dynamic stretching keeps your muscles warm and flexible, preparing them for the next, slightly more intense activity, whereas static stretching is more of a cool-down strategy.
Walking lunges and leg swings before running are good examples of dynamic stretches.
A good example of static stretching is as follows:
Sit on the floor/yoga mat. Splay out one leg in front of you, your toes pointing upward. Fold the other leg. Slowly lean forward and try to touch your toes, and keep your leg straight. Pull your toes inwards, gently. You will feel your calf muscle stretch.
4. Final Thoughts
Even if your genes are not on your side, it is not impossible to get slimmer calves. The process is time-consuming and you will need lots of patience, consistency, and technique. Blindly adopting vigorous exercise routines will not help the case. Light stretching, low-intensity cardio, and less calorie intake can help you get slender calves.
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