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How to do calf raises

Common lower body exercises don’t usually include calf raises. Exercises for larger muscle groups like the hamstrings and glutes usually get more love…

But your calves need attention too! Calves are an important connection between your upper leg muscles and the proper function of your feet and ankles.

Strengthening your calves helps with mobility, common injury prevention, speed, and endurance. Which is where calf raises come in…

In this simple exercise guide you’ll learn what calf raises are, how to do them properly, and why they’re an effective movement break you can easily do during your day.

Let’s get started!

What are calf raises?

Calf raises are a lower body exercise that target and strengthen important muscles in the calves and ankles. Calf raises engage the foot, ankle and calf, and are typically done in a standing position. Basic calf raises do not require specialized equipment and can be done anywhere.

How to do calf raises in 5 steps

Now it’s time to learn how to do basic calf raises. Calf raises target areas that can be sensitive to new movement, so stretching is key.В

Remember: If have lower body pain or recent injuries, be sure to consult your doctor before getting started.

Before you begin, warm up your calves and ankles with some light stretching, especially if you’ve been sitting all day. All set? Let’s go.

How to do calf raises in 5 steps:

  1. Start with your feet pointing forwards, flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart
  2. Keep a micro bend in your knees and raise your heels off the floor
  3. Pause for a moment while you’re on your toes
  4. Slowly lower your heels back to the starting position
  5. Repeat

How many calf raises should I do?

The amount of calf raises you do should vary based on your level of fitness. Always start small and work your way up, especially if a certain movement break is new to you.

Try starting with 3 sets of 10 calf raises. Assess how you’re feeling after the first and second set and decide if you need more or less reps to get the most from your exercise.

Always listen to your body and decide how many reps is best. As you continue your movement break streak, you can always add more reps as you get stronger.

What muscles do calf raises target?

Your calves are composed of 2 main muscles that run down the back of your leg—the soleus and the gastrocnemius.В

These muscles are important connectors between motion in the foot, knee, ankle and upper leg.

Strengthening and engaging these muscles improves stability, explosiveness, and stamina for movements like running or walking. You’ll learn more about the benefits of calf raises in a minute, but first.

Calf raise variations

These calf raise variations will help you align your calf raises with your fitness level. The most common calf raise variations are:

Seated calf raises

Seated calf raises utilize the same lower leg and ankle movement outlined above, except from a seated position.В

Find a comfortable and stable place to sit and perform the same movement for an easier calf raise variation.В

Seated calf raises do not engage all of the muscles normal calf raises do, but are great if you’re needing a lower impact version of the classic calf raise exercise.

Weighted calf raises

Weighted calf raises take the classic calf raise technique and simply add weight.В

To perform a weighted calf raise, hold a kettlebell or dumbbell near the center of your chest and complete the basic calf raise movement outlined above.

This calf raise variation will be more difficult than a non-weighted calf raise, so make sure you ease into weighted calf raises before pushing your reps.

Single leg calf raises

Single leg calf raises are the same movement as basic calf raises but with just one leg.

To perform a single leg calf raise, tuck one foot behind the opposite calf and follow the basic calf raises steps outlined above.

Single leg calf raises are more difficult than classic calf raises, but are great for improving balance and stability. If you do move into single leg calf raises, make sure you keep your reps even on both sides.

Calf Raise benefits

There’s tons of calf raise benefits, but some of the most obvious benefits of calf raises are:

Improved balance

Your calves are important links between your feet and upper body. Calf strength will help youВ improve balance and stability in your lower body by keeping the connection strong and engaged.

Improved stamina

Stamina and endurance are two important aspects of any exercise practice. The stronger we are, the longer we can stay active. And the longer we can stay active means less down time and more activity.

Calf strength is especially effective for stamina on movements like walking or light jogging—two incredibly beneficial and common movements that fit almost any daily exercise routine.

Injury prevention

Your calves provide strength and stability to both your knees and your ankles. Calf strength helps to strengthen important muscle groups that help you avoid common ankle and knee injuries.

Strong calves give your entire lower body apparatus extra stability to avoid injuries, and improve flexibility and range of motion.

The glass is calf full

Calves are often overlooked. But with consistent engagement and strengthening, your calves can become your secret to lower body comfort and strength.

Calf raises are a simple and effective movement break you can do any time, anywhere, to get all the benefits of better calf strength.

Add them to your movement break repertoire today!

How to: Put a weight plate on the floor and rest your toes on it whilst sitting on a bench. Place a dumbbell on your knee, your right hand holding the handle while your left hand holds the top. Lift up your toes as high as possible. Pause, then lower it back onto the weight and repeat.

Do calf raises do anything?

“Training your calves is particularly important to build calf strength, endurance, and explosiveness. It’s great for improving ankle stability and overall balance. Calf raises are also excellent for stretching the plantar muscles of the foot and making it more supple.”Oct 11, 2021.

What can I use instead of a leg press?

The 9 best leg press alternatives are: Hack Squat. V-Squat. Resistance Band Squat. Sissy Squat. Bulgarian Split Squat. Belt Squat. Safety Bar Squat. Front Squat.

Do squats hit calves?

Squats are one of the most popular compound exercises. It can build muscle in almost every major muscle in the body. Its greatest impact, however, is on the lower body, specifically the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Do squats work your calves?

Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building. So squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.

Is it worth it to train calves?

Calf raises ensure that there is soreness in your legs post-exercise. Of course, they also make your calves better, stronger, and leaner. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology researchers claim that doing calf raises and its variations will also give you better balance and muscle structure.

Can Squats replace leg press?

Squats. Squats mimic the movement of leg presses. They’re done in a vertical position, so your lower back absorbs less pressure. If you have back pain or injuries, squats may be an ideal leg press alternative.

Are calf raises useless?

Standing calf raises are probably the most common calf exercise and can be one of the most ineffective, too. Performing calf raises from the floor prevents your muscle from moving through its full range of motion, Chan says.

What exercise is best for calves?

The 8 Best Calf Exercises and Stretches Standing calf raise on elevated surface. Seated calf raise. Farmer’s walk on toes. Jump rope. Dumbbell jump squat. Downward dog. Straight-leg calf stretch against wall. Standing wall calf stretch.

Why are my calves small?

Low body weight might also contribute to small calves. Usually, the less you weigh, the less your calves have to support. But if you weigh more, your legs have to carry more body weight. This can cause bigger calves, even if you don’t do calf-strengthening exercises.

How can I shape my calves fast?

Here are six simple exercises that the boot camp in Billings recommends you preform two to three days a week to sculpt some killer calves. Double-Leg Calf Raises. One of the best exercises to work your calf muscles is the calf raise. Single-Leg Calf Raises. Seated Calf Raises. Stair Steps. Jump Squats.

Do lunges work calves?

Lunges don’t require any equipment, and they’re a great way to work your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. They also help with balance and core strength.

Does running build calves?

Running will help build your calves. Running forces your calves to support your own weight, and it does it constantly and fast. Using ankle weights will help as well. Another great cardio activity that will build your calves is jumping rope.

How can I make my calves bigger?

6 Tips to Get Bigger Calves Train Calves for 2-4 Weeks Straight. Train your calves on a daily basis for a period of 2-4 consecutive weeks before returning to your normal program. Train Before Bed. Walk on Your Tiptoes More. Calf Raises on Stairs. Do 2 Calf Workouts per Week (Heavy and Light) Train Barefoot.

Do squats make you faster?

Squats, on the other hand, are a very efficient way to build muscular strength. Increasing muscular strength is what will allow you to run faster on flats, power up hills, and lengthen your stride. If you want to get an explosive start—or even more importantly, an explosive finish-line sprint—then squatting is for you.

Why are calf raises a waste of time?

Calf Raises. “Calf Raises build the calf muscles but make them more apt to ‘pump up’ when running and jumping. This is a problem, as pumped calves can be painful to play on and can slow an athlete down.”Feb 24, 2014.

What can I use if I don’t have a leg press machine?

Many of those are based on these five exercises: Leg press using resistance bands. A resistance band can replace the weight of a leg press machine. Squats. Squats mimic the movement of leg presses. Lunges. Lunges, like squats, engage your leg muscles without adding pressure on your back. Broad jumps. Bridge exercise.

What is a sissy squat?

The sissy squat is a top exercise for building quads, working on your hip flexors and strengthening your core simultaneously. It involves locking your feet in a fixed position and leaning right back, with the tension on your thighs, before bringing yourself up again – most easily completed with a Sissy Squat Bench.

What are some leg workouts at home?

10 Home leg Workouts to add to your Exercise Regime Squat. A good old squat is the go-to stretch to really get those thighs and glutes working hard. Lunge. Ever tied your shoelace? Single-Leg Calf Raises. Pistol Squats. Squat Jumps. High Knee toe Taps. Wall Sits. Leg Raises.

Are lunges better than squats?

Squats v lunges Squats are considered to the best exercise for lower body workouts and help target your quads, thighs, glutes, calves, core and hamstrings. “Squats are more balanced than lunges and lunges need more coordination which is why squats are better for beginners.

Why the leg press is bad?

Leg Press “The leg press machine is very bad mechanically for your body, because it does not allow your muscles/joints to perform in a functional manner and puts a tremendous amount of stress on your knees and lower back,” says Josh Stolz, a Tier 4 trainer at Equinox in New York City.