If you are looking at building your lower body strength, and getting toned calves for the summer, here is a chance to take advantage of the snow covered hills and skiing you are doing during the winter. Take a little break, and use the steep inclines to help target your calves and shape your legs. It only takes a few minutes a day, and you can really start to see effects.
1) Walk uphill – Pretty simple, but if you have a steep hill near your house or you are out skiing, take a few minutes every day to tackle those steep slopes. Where I live there is an old garbage dump that has been turned into a park – really it is quite nice and doesn’t smell – and the steep small hills are perfect for building calf strength.
2) Jog slowly downhill – You don’t want to run quickly downhill, but jog so that you have a chance to catch your balance with each step. The additional impact of your weight with the slight fall can help build muscle in both your calves and your thighs. Repeat this at least three times, and you should feel it in the morning!
3) Walk on tiptoes up and down – To really target your calves, try to do the same distance on your tiptoes. This time you do not need to run down the slope, just tiptoe up and down. Bend your knees slightly and go slowly; there is no need to run.
4) Small jumps up hill – Practice taking tiny bunny hops up the slope. Keep your feet hip distance apart and your knees bent. This may tire you out – get as far as you can. Bunny hop down again. Use your calves as a spring, and you should see results.
5) Lunges – This works both your thighs and stretches your calves. Take long strides up the hill, allowing your body to sink into a long lunge with every step. You should feel a deep stretch in your calf and the effort in your thigh. Try to hold the lunge for at least five seconds each time. Walk back down the hill or combine with jogging slowly downhill.
6) Hop on one leg – This might not get you far, but see how high you can get on your hill by hopping on one leg. This is a great way to help build lower leg strength in both your calf and thigh. Make sure to keep your knee slightly bent. You can hold your other foot with a free hand to make it easier. If you have good balance, you could try to hop back down again, but otherwise small jumps would be better.