Chicken Legs: for the BBQ Only
It’s officially summer, which means legs are everywhere! This is a good thing. Summer dresses, cute shorts, and bathing suits are in heavy rotation. It’s nice to feel a breeze and the sun on our skin.
But there’s this thing that some people call “chicken legs.” You know, when you have very small calves that cause insecurity about wearing said cute shorts. However don’t fret, because your small calves are another person’s thick thighs: we all have body parts we’d like to change. And change we can.
Toned and shapely calf muscles are important, yes visually, but mostly physically. Your calves play a big role in your everyday movement. They work very hard all day to support your body and bear your weight. They are responsible for common activities like walking and standing, helping you to twist and lift you up to your toes, as well as for more sporty pursuits like running and cycling. Strong calf muscles can also help you jump higher when you play hoops! And yes, when you’re wearing high heels your calf muscles are fired up for action. But that’s not proper exercise. These are:
1. Standing calf raises
Stand tall with your feet in Pilates stance – heels together and toes apart. Engage your abdominal muscles and lift up onto your toes, counting to three to get up. Hold for 3 counts, and then lower your heels down to the ground to the count of three. Repeat this 10 times, imagining yourself as a long straight line from your toes to the top of your head. Your abdominal muscles should help you to balance, but if you need to hold on to a wall or a chair, just make sure that reaching for the wall/chair does not change your posture.
A more advanced approach would be to do these on a step or a raised platform. For this you will likely need something to hold onto.
2. Plié calf raises or Hammer Time!
Stand with your feet quite a bit wider than your hips and your toes turned out. Open your arms out to the sides (because it helps you to balance, and it also looks really good). Engage your abdominal muscles to help keep your body upright and bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Make sure that your knees are directly over your toes. Then transfer your body weight to the balls of your feet by lifting your heels off the ground slowly. Hold for a moment and then lower them down slowly. Repeat this with control – staying in the squat position - for 5-10 reps – whatever you can handle at first. After your last rep place your heels back on the ground and stand up.
Calf cramps? Walk it out and stretch it out. And drink more water! Always.