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The Best Calf-Strengthening Exercises continued...

3. Seated Calf Raise. You can do this exercise at home or at the gym on a calf exercise machine. The exercise works both the gastrocnemius and soleus.

At home.

Starting position: Sit on a firm, sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees aligned directly over your feet. Don't let your knees turn in or out. Sit tall on the chair so your spine is upright.

Place a weight on your thighs. You can use a disc weight from the gym, a few heavy books, or some other flat weight that won't roll off.

Action: Press slowly down into the balls of your feet to raise your heels as high as you can. Next, slowly lower your heels. Repeat.

At the gym.

Starting position: Set yourself up in the calf press machine with the balls of your feet on the platform. This will let you lower your heels toward the floor. Undo the machine's safety latch and release the weight onto your calves.

Action: Drop your heels as far as you can toward the floor to lower the weight, and then press into the balls of your feet to raise your heels as high as you can.

4. Calf-Building Sports: Taking part in the following sports will help you both strengthen and tone your calves.

Running, walking, and hiking are excellent calf-strengthening exercises, especially when you go uphill. The steeper the climb, the more your calves have to work.

Running sports such as soccer, basketball, and tennis demand that you run, jump, and push off your calf muscles to accelerate or change direction quickly. So they're great for toning calves.

Step class and other kinds of dance will work your calves every time you step up and down or bend your knees and push off going from high to low positions.

Swimming works the calves along with the rest of the legs muscles. It also avoids the impact of running or jumping. Because it's low-impact, it's also a safe way to strengthen calves if you're recovering from an injury.

If you're overweight and want the look of toned calves, you may want to add a safe weight loss program that includes diet and exercise. You can't spot-reduce any part of your body.

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