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Does anyone know some exercises or activities that I can do to help me slim down my calves?  I want to lose inches! Help!
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Calves are often neglected when exercising, and I am no expert but I can tell you what I do.  Cardio work of all kinds will indeed work your legs - walking, jogging, running, treadmill, eliptical etc.  One stationary exercise you can do is - starting with one fit planted forward, knee slightly bent, the opposite foot a semi-wide distance behind, foot also planted to the floor, with both feet pointed forward.  Once in position, motion your body so that your heal on the 'back foot' raises off the floor.  Use your arms to lift you, and push through the heel of your 'forward foot.'  Try doing 3 sets of 12 at a steady pace, on each foot.  And always stretch your muscles after any exercising.  A good calf stretch.  Simply stand on a raised surface, like a stair.  Have one foot firmly on the stair, and the other foot connects with the stair, only on the ball of the foot.  Gently press down until you feel the stretch.  Hold for 5-10 seconds.  Explaining this in words can be confusing - I hope this helps!!
I hate to be such a pessimist, but calf size can be a genetic issue. Mine are large (so are my mom's and my sister's-thanks mom).

My trainer measured my calves and thighs before I started a more intense workout routine (spinning 4+ times per week, +cardio and strength training). In eight weeks my thighs were each 1-1/2" smaller, calves only 1/8" smaller. I am trying to train myself to appreciate them. All that working out didn't decrease them at all, but the muscles are more defined. They do make my ankles look delicate and slim! LOL

Good luck and enjoy your calves!
I've got massive calves also and no matter my fitness level they've always been big. It doesn't really bother me except for when I try to buy boots... then I'm cursing! :)
jayd, I totally feel you on the boots thing!! I got a pair of boots in my closet that I'm waiting to fit back into!
oooh Jayd have I got something for you!

 'eddie bauer extra-wide-calf boots' I couldn't link to their calf sizing chart, but here's the website. over.asp?nv=23211|23998|24009&tid=&c=&a mp;referringurl=http%3A// 3211

I wore out my first pair so I am going to order another. These are the ONLY tall boots that have ever fit! Even my Mom was admiring them over the holidays. She said 'wow! they zip all the way up!!'

umm hmm.
Oooh, thanks library! I'm gonna check these out right away!

I just recently hear about another site that actually makes a large variety of boots with foot AND calf sizing. Too bad I didn't bookmark it and now I don't remember what it is. I think it might have been a british company. Anyone know what I'm talking about?
Try Pilates and make sure to stretch after workout, when your muscles still warm. It won't make it small per-se, but helps in shaping and lengthening your body & posture.
The only time I had thin calves was when I lost tooo much weight and had very little lean muscle mass,,,not a good thing!!!

But I do know what sweet_tart said works well; a trainer I know who has trained state champion bodybuilder(male) told me calf size is mostly genetic and large is healthy....but for us girls we like to have the best of both worlds, right?  Again, what sweet_tart said........
Speaking of which, has anyone ever found knee socks that don't cut off your circulation?  I would love to have some funky knee socks to wear with a club outfit one day, but I have yet to find any that fit.
the controlled extension of the legs while pointing the toes in mat pilates helps slim down the calves, it's worked for me. also barre work toning (like the bar method or some ballet classes or even lotte berk) can help shape up that area effectively. i've had the best success in both ways. 
Samantha - It's hit & miss with socks. For me, I usually "break" the top elastic so it won't pinch my circulation if it's too tight.

Jayd - It's that makes the boots you're thinking of :)

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Obviously it depends on whether your calves are genetically inherited or developed purely from exercise. If it's the former, then there isn't much you can do about it. The only thing you can do is maintain their shape and do exercises that will tone and define them rather than making them bigger, like running, cycling and strength training using light weights with high repetitions. If it's the latter then you should do the same cardio exercises and make sure that you stretch regularly. In this case try to avoid heavy weight lifting that will bulk them up even further. I believe pilates and yoga also help in slimming down the calves if they've developed too much due to to heavy exercising.

Is it fat or muscle mass? Some people will distribute their fat on their lower bodies, a lot of times on the calves.

If it is fat, dieting would reduce the size. If it is muscle, dieting will reduce the size if you're not working them and you're not eating enough protein. Your body will rip your skeletal muscle apart (from everywhere) for the amino acids to feed the high priority tissue (not really recommend). Doing elliptical would reduce calve work.

I personally do calve exercises like seated calf raises, leg press calf raises, donkey calf raises because my calves were small and i didn't want proportion problems. Now my calves are god like, yet way bigger.

14 Replies