Fitness challenges are an excellent motivator. Setting an achievable target and a fixed endpoint helps keep your focus on the goal.
That was the case for fitness YouTuber Lucas Buckingham - known to his 2.4m subscribers as Pigmie - who recently attempted to do 1,000 calf raises every day for a whole week.
Sharing his challenge in a new video, Buckingham stated that his aim was to increase the size of his calf muscles by one inch each.
Why calf raises? This classic exercise move - which involves raising your heel a few inches above the ground so that you're on tiptoes and briefly holding the position - is one of the best leg workouts you can do.
And whilst the star didn't quite hit his target calf measurement increase, the results were still pretty impressive.
At the end of the seven days, Buckingham had gained an impressive 0.25 inches on his left calf and 0.5 inches on the right. It's worth noting that before undertaking this latest challenge, he had tried walking on his toes for a week and found his calves grew about 0.75 inches.
Watch the 7-day calf raise challenge here
Calf raises are a core part of many fitness routines as these leg muscles play a significant role in running and cycling and promote efficient blood circulation.
However, completing 1,000 a day is pretty extreme, so you may want a more balanced approach if you're looking at how to get fit. If you're specifically looking to build strong legs, it's also a good idea to incorporate a variety of different moves that target the lower limbs into your workout routine, such as squats, lunges and deadlifts with barbells.
However, the week-long challenge is a great way to see the seemingly straightforward exercise can have on your muscle development.
If you've never done calf raises before, or you're looking for a more sustainable way to get involved, you could gradually increase the number of reps each day and extend the target to 30 days.
Whether you choose to take on the experiment or not, it's a good reminder of the importance of incorporating bodyweight moves, like the plank and push-ups, into your workout. It's also a good idea to keep one of the best water bottles handy to avoid dehydration and prevent cramps during high-rep exercises.
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James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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