Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 8/20/13 1:58 A
Well, it makes sense that you can't literally lengthen muscles, but re-shaping them so that they LOOK longer...eh, maybe?
There is certainly a genetic component to these things. I can look at my parents' wedding picture with the two families lined up on either side of the bride and groom and see that I most definitely got my legs from my father's side. This is a good thing...I have great legs and thin ankles for someone my size, but my legs are about the right length for someone a foot shorter than I actually am. OK for everyday life, not good enough for doing tango.
Oh well...today I was walking around in shorts and caught a glimpse of my legs reflected in the television set and it didn't make me think of Botero at all, so maybe I am doing OK.
Stretching is an area where the research has developed significantly in just the past 10 years, and much of it contradicts what was previously accepted practice. Even many personal trainers are not up to date with the latest research, so some confusion is perfectly understandable.
The research can probably be summed up as:
* Maintaining and building your flexibility does reduce injury, and stretching is probably the best way to do it. * You should hold a stretch steadily for 15-30 seconds, rather than 'bouncing' * You should never stretch cold muscles, so stretching before a workout is best avoided * Stretching at the end of a workout is certainly convenient, as your muscles are already warm, but there is no advantage to stretching at the end of a workout over stretching (warmed up) muscles at any other time. * You should still warm up and warm down after a workout, rather than starting and stopping suddenly, but warming up through light cardio is different from stretching.
Bottom line: Stretching is good for you, but you should ensure that you are warmed up beforehand, and there is no need to tie stretching to an end-of-workout routine other than convenience.
Fitness Minutes: (37,628)
769 8/18/13 7:52 P
I have fat ankles and calves. My ankles are genetic. You could literally take my ankle and exchange it with my mother's. There is no difference!
Dragonchilde- I understand that..I did include in my post(see below) that they are slimming down IN PROPORTION TOP THE REST OF ME..I am aware you can't spot-reduce. That is why I was careful to say what I did, as not to mislead anyone..Then I included what I like to do as a part of my overall workout to build muscle in the calves...I didn't say anywhere in my post that those specific exercises would spot-reduce the calves. Building lean muscle and losing fat together DOES shape them up though..that is what my post said.
(I have been doing lot of calf-pumps during my cardio and strength workouts, and mine are slimming down noticeably. In proportion to the rest of me, of course..but I had excess fat on my calves apparently because they are getting rock hard and solid muscle and are leaner. I incorporate lots of calf work throughout my workouts..standing with my toes/pads on the edge of a ledge or step, suspending the rest of my foot over the drop-off, and slowly lowering my heels, and then thrusting upward, constantly repeating for 50 "pumps" at a time. I also stretch them well with heels on the floor and toes/pads on the step leaning forward into the stretch.)
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,689 8/18/13 11:24 A
PETUNIABETH - those exercises will NOT reduce the size of your calves. If you are losing weight there, it's because you're burning fat overall. Not because of calf work you're doing during your routine.
PINK4YOUTOO - as we explained earlier, you can't reduce your ankles through exercise. Spot reduction of body parts isn't possible.
JESSAELINN - isn't it though? The old advice of "stretch before exercise" is definitely no longer sound; most fitness experts advise against it, because it doesn't prevent injury and in some cases, may actually increase that risk!
It's generally best to stretch after the workout. That DOES help prevent injury, and darned if it doesn't feel good!
Fitness Minutes: (18,349)
368 8/17/13 4:27 P
"And JESSAELINN, while stretching after exercise is critical and helps prevent injury, doing so won't prevent you from bulking up. ;)"
Oh the science of the physiology of the human body is ever changing....
I just recently learned that if I stretch after a warm up, then do my cardio, I actually cause my muscles to tire out easier. But I always thought that stretching helps relax them so that you are less likely to injure. So.. I stopped stretching because of the new study about makig the muscles tire out. But I know that doing a stretching routine should be part of physical activity in and of itself, I just don't like it. I'll read those articles you posted, just don't have time right now.
I have been doing lot of calf-pumps during my cardio and strength workouts, and mine are slimming down noticeably. In proportion to the rest of me, of course..but i had excess fat on my calves apparently because they are getting rock hard and solid muscle and are leaner. I incorporate lots of calf work throughout my workouts..standing with my toes/pads on the edge of a ledge or step, suspending the rest of my foot over the drop-off, and slowly lowering my heels, and then thrusting upward, constantly repeating for 50 "pumps" at a time. I also stretch them well with heels on the floor and toes/pads on the step leaning forward into the stretch.
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,689 8/17/13 11:17 A
AZULVIOLETA6, while many practitioners claim that yoga and pilates can build a "long, lean" look, that's actually a myth. You can't change the length of your muscles like this. It's a common misconception that exercising a certain way will provide a change in how your muscles appear (such as lifting light weights for many reps, or doing yoga) but that unfortunately doesn't happen.
"Myth #5: Certain forms of exercise build long, lean muscles.
The Truth: Many forms of exercise claim to lengthen the muscles or develop "lean" muscles, not bulky ones. But here's a truth that may be shocking to some: To put it another way, no form of exercise makes muscles "longer" because your muscles do notóand will notórespond to exercise by getting longer. It's just not how they work. Muscles are a certain length because they attach to your bones. A wide variety of movements and exercises can help you strengthen your muscles without necessarily making them bigger. In fact, you can develop a lot of muscular strength without your muscles ever increasing in size (girth).
That said, exercises such as yoga, Pilates, dance and barre classes can help to increase your flexibility (improving your range of motion at certain joints) and your posture, which can give you the illusion of feeling and looking longer or taller. But lengthening? Not possible. Claims like these are just trying to appeal to people who fear bulking up."
And JESSAELINN, while stretching after exercise is critical and helps prevent injury, doing so won't prevent you from bulking up. ;)
Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 8/17/2013 (11:18)
Fitness Minutes: (15,946)
1,078 8/17/13 9:05 A
I feel ya on that! It was especially bad in high school when I did marching band; one year I could wear my boots no problem, then senior year, I could barely zip them up over my calves because of the muscle I had developed.
I gained weight when I started college and then lost it and got to the point I'm at now, and I still have issues buying knee-high boots sometimes. But I wouldn't trade them for stick-thin non-muscular calves EVER :)
Fitness Minutes: (18,349)
368 8/16/13 11:38 P
I don't know if this will help, but are you doing calf muscle exercises? If so, you should stretch immediately afterwards to help avoid bulking. I have large calves as well, but so does my dad. I figure it's genetic, that I have the same short legs as he does. lol In the end, there's really not much that we can change about how we're built. I think large calves look kinda cool, honestly. I like my legs.
Are your calves big due to fat, or have your built muscle in this area? I have what I affectionately call "athletic calves". They are really big and make buying skinny jeans a problem. But they carry me around and do a lot of work, so I'm learning to love them :)
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
9,689 8/16/13 5:44 P
Unfortunately, you can't. You see, spot-reduction isn't possible! The fact of the matter is that fat loss is a total-body process that can only be done over time; you can't do specific exercises nor eat specific foods to reduce specific parts of your body. Where you lose first is dependent on genetics more than anything else.
Keep up the great work, and your calves will eventually slim down, too. But do remember that some of us are simply genetically inclined to be larger in some places than others; and I guarantee you that your calves don't look nearly as bad as you think. You look down on them at an awkward angle... did you know Coach Jen swears she has big calves? But every time I look at her photos on her Sparkpage, they look fantastic!
I've lost 55 pounds since the beginning of the year but my calves are not shrinking...I walk and run every day. Is there anything I can do to slim them down? I still feel 'big' b/c they haven't shrunk like the rest of me. :(
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