Do you feel like you’re fighting with calves that are “too big” for those you boots you want to wear? Did you gain weight and then lose it, only to have your lower legs remain larger than before? When you lift weights, do your calves bulk up really easily?
“I find it hard to find workouts for slimming the calves — not necessarily toning the calves, so much as slimming them — and they feel like a largely neglected body part,” wrote Lynette P.
While the majority of the fitness industry might not be paying much attention to the calf-part of your leg, we cover calves a lot on Fit2B. If you want calf stretches and exercises, you’ll find them in these routines:
- Kelly’s Total Body Stretching
- Half Foam Roll Routine
- Ankles & Upper Body
- Tabata Cardio
- Yoga For Runners (and pretty much any Yoga video we have because so many asanas stretch and/or work the calves)
- Many other routines + this one I’m placing here for you to use for FREE … want more? Get a membership to Fit2B today!
Before we go any further, though, I want to challenge your “why” behind wanting smaller, slimmer calves. If it’s just aesthetics (how you look) and you feel uncomfortable with the notion that your calves might not be acceptable or lovable at their current size, maybe it’s your perspective that needs to be shifted, not your calves.
On the other hand, if you’re also dealing with foot pain associated with plantar fasciitis or core dysfunctions like peeing your pants and diastasis recti, then it’s time to take a deeper look at your calves for sure!
4 Calf Connections to Your Core to Consider
Are your calf muscles tight?
If you’ve got crampy calves, that might be playing into their size and shape! If you’ve ever experienced a “Charlie Horse,” which is my locality’s lingo for that full tetanus flex in your lower leg that leaves you hobbling, rubbing it out, and eating loads of bananas, you know how your muscles can seize up into a hard ball during a cramp!
Tight calves have been linked to core and pelvic floor dysfunction. If you’re not stretching your calves regularly, if you struggle with incontinence or diastasis recti, if you’re prone to foot or calf cramps, you need to start stretching seven ways to Sunday. You need to be drinking more water, consuming more foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and stretching … Did I mention stretching already? Oh well, let me say it again: stretch dem calves.
Are your shoes making your calves bunch?
Stretch your calves all you want, but if your normal everyday footwear elevates your heel, your calves are being held in a shortened, tightened position. You’re stretching just to undo the backlash of footwear you’ll be putting back on tomorrow. Here’s a little something I wrote on shoes and the shape of your belly.
Those calves are doing double time in any type of heeled shoe, even in a half-inch heel which causes your entire body to hold itself differently. Muscles that never catch a break will likely be more big and bulky … So those boots you want to squish your soleus (Latin name for one of your calf muscles) into? Do they have a heel? Hmmmm …
Walking lengthens and strengthens ALL of your leg muscles, but your calves are especially involved in pedestrian ambulation. But it rains, so we don’t walk. It snows, so we stay home. It’s too sunny and hot, so we turn up the air conditioning. We don’t walk nearly as much as our bodies need, considering how much our ancestors walked. A nice 30-60 minute walk each day would do wonders for your whole body, not just your calf muscles. Check our our “Walking As A Workout” fitness ecourse here!
Do you have body dysmorphia?
“People who have body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day. They can’t control their negative thoughts and don’t believe people who tell them that they look fine,” says the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. “BDD is a body-image disorder characterized by persistent and intrusive preoccupations with an imagined or slight defect in one’s appearance.”
If you describe your calves and big and bulky … well, are they? Maybe they are perfectly strong and healthy, having adapted to the stimulus in your life, always there powerfully for you at a moment’s notice. If you’re feeling shame over your curvy calves, why is that?
I mean, Is there anything actually wrong with your calves as they are? If you believe they are oversized only because they won’t fit in that one pair of boots, FRIEND, your calves aren’t wrong, the boots are! Please proceed with loving your calves the way they are and choose different boots.
Yeah, before we shame those curvy calves when no problem (like tightness, pain, or dysfunction) even exists, let’s counter that with truth.
You do NOT need to reprogram your whole workout routine just to snug your legs into those unrealistic boots or pants that will just restrict your motion anyway!
You DEFINITELY DO need to reprogram your workout routine (and life and footwear) if, after reading this blog, you are realizing that your calves might have bigger problems than their size. They might be connected to deeper issues in your core and feet, and that’s something you can start addressing today!
So ask yourself … And leave a comment!
Do you really need to slim your soleus and gastroc calf muscles? Is there actually too much fat around those muscles — and if so, why does that concern you? Are they big because they’re powerful, so you maybe just need a perspective shift AWAY from what the media has taught you is “good” for calf looks?
P.S.When I was searching our stock photo account for “Calves” this is some of what showed up for me! LOL! All of these calves need long walks 😉