Stretches can help slim the calves.
If your current exercise regimen has left you with large bulky calves, then it's time to try some Pilates stretches. Pilates exercises were originally created for dancers, and focus on lengthening and strengthening the muscles, producing a longer, leaner appearance. Calf stretches are easy to master, can be practiced almost anywhere, and do not require any special equipment. Combine calf stretching with a healthy diet and cardio work to target overall body fat.
Feel the Pull
There is a large muscle called the gastrocnemius that forms the bulging part of the calf, and a broad muscle that lies beneath called the soleus. Stair calf raises target the whole of the calf and help sculpt and tone the lower leg muscles. You need a step or thick phone book to stand on with the balls of your feet and your heels hanging unsupported. Hold onto a rail or chair back for support and slowly lower your heels towards the floor until you feel the stretch in your calves. Raise back up and lift onto the balls of your feet. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Downward Dog Stretch
The downward facing dog is a widely-recognized yoga pose that strengthens and stretches the whole body. Kneel on a mat on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees just behind your hips. Push back with your hips and lift so that your hands and feet are on the mat and your body is an inverted вЂњVвЂќ shape. Relax your ankles and press your heels down to feel your calf muscles stretching. Hold for 30 seconds then return to the kneeling position. Repeat three to five times.
On the Floor
Sit on a mat and fold one leg in with your other leg stretched out in front of you. Lean forward and put your hands around the ball of your stretched out foot. Gently pull back so that your toes come forward and hold for about 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. You can also do this exercise with your spine straight and using a band -- or old belt -- around the ball of your foot to pull it towards you.
Plie is a ballet movement where the knees are bent and the back is held straight. Ballet dancers never have fat calves. For this stretch you begin with your heels a few inches apart and your toes pointing outwards. Bend your knees to slowly move down to a squat position or until you feel you can go no further. Keep your head up, back straight and stomach sucked in. Put weight on your heels then roll onto the balls of your feet and hold for 10 seconds. Return to an upright position and repeat five times.
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