The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 22
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2006
    Posts
    77

    Default slimming calf muscles

    So the zipper on one of my tall boots broke yesterday, and I'm worried it's because my legs have gotten bulkier
    Does anyone who has been in the same position of needing to slim down for their tall boots have any advice on exercises and stretches to do/avoid?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2006
    Posts
    4,343

    Default

    Do not run on hills.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    242

    Default

    The only way to slim down is to do cardio exercise as you cannot "spot reduce" one area of your body--meaning you can't just do a certain exercise to reduce the size of your calves. Riding horses does require that you flex your calf muscles to keep your heels down and you will build a bit of muscle but it shouldn't cause your muscle to become huge and bulky and cause your boot to not fit. Other exercises *may* cause you muscles to grow (like running or even walking) but you won't "bulk up" and have huge calves like a man (unless you are a guy, of course-muscle bulk is related to testosterone).

    I would actually suggest stretching your muscles after you exercise as this in no way causes you to gain muscle and it is great for your muscles and joints!

    have you gained a little weight since you bought them? You don't have to answer that on here but just be honest with yourself because even an extra 5 lbs, depending on how your body stores fat, can cause your calves to get bigger.

    I suggest you increase the amount of cardio exercise you do even if it's taking the dog for a brisk walk for at least 40 minutes 3x a week or mucking out the barn :P Again, I think if you're anything like me, it will make you boots fit better. Don't worry about your calf muscles getting bigger, just think of it as shedding some fat.

    I hope that helps!
    Last edited by beesknees; Jul. 16, 2009 at 02:41 PM. Reason: clarify
    BeesKnees
    Hunters should be galloping - George Morris



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,221

    Default

    DON'T use a stair climber or run stairs!

    I was having some issues with retaining water in my calves. In addition to losing weight and exercising more w/cardio, try cutting salt intake. Maybe a session with a personal trainer would help target them?
    "Horses give us the wings we lack"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
    Posts
    7,304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beesknees View Post
    women do NOT "bulk up" unless you have a hormonal problem or are on steroids
    Sure they do. Not to the extent that men do, but certainly there's significant muscle development that can occur.

    I used to have very slim calves. Then I started running track. My calves basically went "boing!" I was actually lighter and thinner overall, but my calf muscles developed significantly. In looking at the other members of my family, I can see that, as a genetic group, we tend to have bulky muscles, much to my chagrin.

    I no longer run. I've still got the calves, though. My legs are not heavy (they look terrific in heels) but I still take an extra wide calf in off the shelf boots.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2004
    Posts
    11,327

    Default

    You can't spot reduce but you would be surprised how much you can elongate muscles with the right kind of stretching or exercise. Many exercises cause the muscles to contract, you should get involved with a good stretching program. Ballet barre exercises and Pilates are great, there is also a wonderful book, Bob Anderson's Stretching is wonderful and it now comes in DVD and as a video. I got it in 1985 when I tore my hamstring, there is now a 25th anniversary version out. Highly recommend it.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    In my car, between work, home, and the barn!
    Posts
    362

    Default

    Careful with what you do in terms of cardio, though! You'll burn fat, but if you start to run or walk a lot, you'll build a lot of muscle in your calves. I started distance running several years ago, and while I'm slim and my body fat percentage has dropped dramatically, I can't fit in my old dress boots anymore - I've just built up too much calf muscle.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    242

    Default

    Sing - yes, I was more refering to "bulking up" like some women fear, meaning that they think they're calves are going to look like a man's who body builds, haha! I was just trying to dispel any fears about doing some cardio exercise like walking 3x a week. And I also just wanted to point out that riding a horse will make your muscles a bit larger but it shouldn't have caused her boots to become that ill-fitting.

    Thanks for clearing that up, I clarified what I meant above about the riding and calf size increase.


    Also again, you can't target areas of your body and make it smaller--not gonna happen stretching and yoga enthusists have said they help to elongate muscles and it is really good for you but I don't think it would make that much of a difference in you boot fitting.
    Last edited by beesknees; Jul. 16, 2009 at 02:37 PM.
    BeesKnees
    Hunters should be galloping - George Morris



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2001
    Posts
    1,068

    Default

    Stop running. That always slims my calves down in no time. Of course, the rest of me expands.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 30, 2007
    Posts
    3,350

    Default

    Why on earth would a person stop running, using the stair climber, or what have you? The health benefits of aerobic exercise are more important than the size of your calves. So what if your calves get bigger. Get boots that fit and call it a day. Would you cut off your toes to wear a smaller shoe size (OK OK that was an extreme analogy). Anyway just wanted to share a different perspective.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aer...SECTIONGROUP=2

    http://www.weightlossforall.com/aerobic-benefits.htm



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2008
    Location
    Northern NJ
    Posts
    247

    Default

    A while back I read on here that someone put saran wrap on their calves under the half chaps for a couple of rides before a show. I vaguelly recall the poster saying it helped enough to get her boots on. If irc hers were just a lil bit too tight. I wanted to try it out since my vogels were ridiculosly tight when I wore them as part of a halloween costume...but with all the exercising I've been doing since then I slimmed down enough that they are tolerably tight for the few times I need them. If you need a quick fix maybe try the saran wrap trick.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    242

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mukluk View Post
    Why on earth would a person stop running, using the stair climber, or what have you? The health benefits of aerobic exercise are more important than the size of your calves. So what if your calves get bigger. Get boots that fit and call it a day. Would you cut off your toes to wear a smaller shoe size (OK OK that was an extreme analogy). Anyway just wanted to share a different perspective.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aer...SECTIONGROUP=2

    http://www.weightlossforall.com/aerobic-benefits.htm
    I agree, weight training is also really good for you as well
    BeesKnees
    Hunters should be galloping - George Morris



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 23, 2008
    Posts
    4,266

    Default

    Fat aside, some people tend to muscle up more than others. My mom's side of the family has "peasant calves" (even my mom, who is extremely fit and has no body fat) while my dad's side has "skinny calves" (even the ones who work out hard and are super fit). To some extent how your muscles develop is genetic.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2008
    Posts
    1,418

    Default

    Maybe try some Yoga or Pilates as well. I used to have pretty big claves from riding and running and they are definitely slimmer now that I've been doing Yoga and Pilates for a while (I'm MUCH stronger in my core as well). I used to be a full calf in ariat boots and now I'm a regular calf size. I don't know if it's all the stretching or what but I have nice, lean muscles now and I've never been overweight so I don't think it was simply loss of fat.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2007
    Posts
    1,402

    Default

    When I quit smoking (25 years ago) I started jogging to reinforce the decision. Within a few months, while I has successfully quit smoking, I had also grown my calf muscles to the point that my fairly new custom Dehners were impossible to wear. Had to re-home those and get another pair....still glad I quit smoking however....



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2008
    Posts
    8,991

    Default

    It depends on your body type whether running impacts your calves. When I was regularly running 5 miles a day, my calves did not bulk up at all. I tend to develop long lean muscle. When I stop running I "bulk up" all over, though.

    OP, if I were you I would stretch your boots a little. Put on your boots WITH the socks you plan to wear, get in the bathtub, soak thoroughly, then wear the boots until dry. It should solve the problem, but granted does look a little weird. Hide from neighbors in the meantime.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
    Posts
    7,304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mukluk View Post
    Why on earth would a person stop running, using the stair climber, or what have you? The health benefits of aerobic exercise are more important than the size of your calves. So what if your calves get bigger. Get boots that fit and call it a day. Would you cut off your toes to wear a smaller shoe size (OK OK that was an extreme analogy).
    For me, it wasn't just the size of my calves, it was also overdevelopment of the tibial muscle on the front of my lower leg. It made it extremely painful to put my heel down and keep it down. The cramping in the front of my legs was excrutiating.

    Believe me, I'd like to run. But running and riding are mutually exclusive activities for me.

    Oh, and BTW, I'm the one who uses the saran wrap sweat. It definitely works, although it's not going to take inches off.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 21, 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    843

    Default

    Ditto about the running; I'm pretty slim but I have really muscular legs because I run a ton. My muscle doesn't necessarily bulk up, but years of soccer and running have given me heftier rather than slim legs. I appreciate the extra power on the lazier horses



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2008
    Posts
    357

    Default

    Don't bike either! I got a new mountain bike this spring and just love riding it. Lots of hills around here and it's a great workout. But...I went to put on my tall boots for last weekend's show and they weren't even close to fitting I was confused at first, because I've lost weight over all since last summer, but apparently my legs have gotten bulkier. My breeches were also that awful fit where they're too big in the waist/too small in the thigh. Agreed with other posters...if it's from exercise, keep doing what youre doing and just find a new pair of boots...or if it's due to overall weight gain and you love your boots, try to slim down your body as a whole.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,221

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by terasa View Post
    Don't bike either! I got a new mountain bike this spring and just love riding it. Lots of hills around here and it's a great workout. But...I went to put on my tall boots for last weekend's show and they weren't even close to fitting I was confused at first, because I've lost weight over all since last summer, but apparently my legs have gotten bulkier. My breeches were also that awful fit where they're too big in the waist/too small in the thigh. Agreed with other posters...if it's from exercise, keep doing what youre doing and just find a new pair of boots...or if it's due to overall weight gain and you love your boots, try to slim down your body as a whole.
    This is true. I used to love the spinning classes at the gym, but noticed many of the women doing it had Xena the Warrior Princess calves. Now I would go once in a while, but not regularly. My calves are already on the bulky side.

    You can certainly do other cardio regularly and mix it up. Elliptical and NordicTrack are not so intensive on the calves.
    "Horses give us the wings we lack"



Similar Threads

  1. Who uses Calf Manna? Who REMEMBERS Calf Manna?
    By Iride in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 141
    Last Post: Dec. 12, 2012, 11:17 AM
  2. Which Muscles?
    By Horsez-R-Us in forum Dressage
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Aug. 30, 2012, 10:32 AM
  3. Slimming Down your Calves?
    By hauntedoblivion in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: Mar. 28, 2010, 11:34 AM
  4. Muscles quivering?
    By kahjul in forum Horse Care
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Jan. 21, 2009, 08:30 PM
  5. Who uses Calf Manna? Who REMEMBERS Calf Manna?
    By Iride in forum Off Course
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: Nov. 22, 2007, 02:12 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
randomness