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your look ● ﬁtness Are You Craving Curvy Calves? For such a small portion of the human body, calves present a big challenge when you want to tone and shape them G reat calves can’t be bought—they have to be earned. It’s not only the hardest part of the leg to change, but also the hardest part of the entire body to change. Anyone who has exercised with the goal of building more shapely legs will tell you the same, whether you are training for a pageant, mod- eling competition, ﬁtness event, or you just want to look better in a short skirt and high heels. Your calves are the one muscle group that has been— and always will be—the most difﬁcult to reshape, because these are the muscles that you use the most every day. The calf muscle group consists of the gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantaris muscles, situated at the back of the lower leg. The function of the calf muscles is to pull up on the heel bone during the push-off phase of walking and running. HEAVY LIFTING When you get out of bed and your feet hit the ﬂoor, your calf muscles start lifting your body weight ﬁrst. Each time you take a step, along with carrying the weight of your en- tire body, you are also stretching and contracting the calf muscles. By the end of the day, just imagine how many steps you have taken and how often you have used your calf muscles. Every time you walk up and down steps, you’ve in- creased your calf muscle output beyond the normal walking on level ground. All of this extra work, above and beyond your other leg muscles, is something you don’t think about. Your calves get a workout without you even consciously 66 PAGEANTRY putting the effort in to exercise them. This is why training and changing the shape of your calf muscles is so difﬁcult, because your calves already get a major workout through your everyday movements. When you begin training your calves, you must exercise with weights that will push them past their normal limits of everyday movement, allowing them to ﬁrm up, strengthen, and grow. UPON FURTHER INSPECTION Let’s take a closer look at what is actually taking place throughout the day with your calf muscles. Your heel touches the ground ﬁrst, which actually stretches your calf muscle. Next the ball of your foot, combined with your toes, lifts your body up and forward to the next step with the opposite leg. So whatever your weight may be, 110 lbs. FITNESS Continued on page 84