Calves are one of the hardest muscles for most athletes to build up, but a set of sexy calves is one of the most coveted things. So how do you go about creating a set of gams that showcases strength and definition?
It’s no secret that dancers tend to have exceptionally strong, sexy calves. We checked in with Jason Warley, professional dance instructor, artist, and CEO of Man in Motion, to learn more about how to develop this hard-to-sculpt muscle. He explains that developing your calves isn’t just for beauty—it’ll help you achieve higher jumps, too.
Related: Crunchless Abs: The Ultimate Guide
“Strong quadriceps and hamstrings are most often thought to be the power behind performing higher jumps. However, dancers know that having strong calves are just as essential in achieving elevation,” Jason tells us. “The following exercises will help tone and strengthen your calves and will have you jumping for joy in no time.”
You will need a stopwatch or wall clock that has a seconds hand. At zero, you will plié as described in step one, then immediately rise to a relevé (step two) for 15 seconds. After 15 seconds on the clock, you will return to the plié position and immediately rise to relevé again for 15 more seconds. Repeat 4 times consecutively for a total of 60 seconds, then rest.
Perform the exercise three (3) times.
Place one hand on any steady surface for balance (example: ballet barre, countertop, the back of a chair, etc.). Start in a first position demi-plié—heels together, toes naturally facing outward, back straight, knees bent directly over toes, and heels down. Arm can be extended to side or placed on your hip.
Rise to a relevé — heels lifted, ankles steady, weight over the first two toes, with back and legs completely straight. Be sure your heels are lifted as high as possible, allowing for full contraction in the calves.
Perform 16 consecutive jumps, as shown below, then rest. Be sure to land each jump in first position demi plié, with heels down. Keep your back straight and tailbone down throughout the entire exercise.
Perform the above exercise 2-3 times.
Step away from the steady surface used earlier and start in that same first-position plié with arms down.
Immediately push off the floor and spring into the air as high as possible. Pointing your feet in the air is ideal.
Photographed by Jerome Capasso, featuring dancer James A. Washington
Inspired yet? Check this out…