Calf raises


Muscle group:   The leg muscles

Trained muscle:   Calf

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises, free weight exercises, machine exercises


 

Calf raises represent the one and only exercise for the muscles of the calves. The training can be modified in many different ways what makes the calf workout pretty diverse.

Calf raises

Calf raises begin in shoulder wide stand. The upper body is straight, the abdominal muscles are tensed, and we actively erect the pelvis. Extend the knee joints. If necessary hold on to a chair, the wall bars, or similar to stabilize your body. From that position raise the heels maximally to just stand on the balls of your feet. Make sure to keep a straight feet alignment (do not rotate your legs). Come back down again to complete one repetition.

The exercise should be performed in controlled movements. In the upward movement the body weight could shift toward the big toes. To intensify the calf raises we could perform small impulses in the area of highest muscle tension (highest position when ankle joints are extended). We could also work out on one leg. Extra weights, like dumbbells, barbell, or on the multi press machine, further intensify the workout.

Calf raises

Calf raises

 

Calf raises standing

Calf raises

 

Calf raises on the machine

Calf raises can be exercised on different machines. There also are two specific machines, one for the sitting and one for the standing calf raise. But also the hack squat machine allows a proper workout of the calves. Step on the platform with just the balls of your feet.

  • In the standing version you have the resistance cushions rest on your shoulders. Your knees are extended and your entire body stands right up. Tense your abdominal muscles and erect the pelvis. Grab the handles to stabilize your body and start raising and lowering your heels in controlled motions.
  • In the sitting version you have the resistance cushions sit on your thighs. Sit upright with your ab tensed. The hip and knee joints are bent. Grab the handles or the seat cushion to stabilize your body and start raising and lowering your heels smoothly.
Calf raises on the machine

Calf raises on the machine

 

In both versions the training in the area of highest muscle tension intensifies the exercise significantly. Please note, that working out standing calf raises with high weights puts a lot of pressure on the spine what could cause complaints. Always keep a clean execution.

Calf raises on the leg press

Also a quite effective version of the exercise represent calf raises on the leg press. We sit in the machine with our complete back on the back rest. The balls of our feet are placed hip-wide on the platform. The tips of your feet point straight forward (straight feet alignment) and the knees extend. Tense the abdominal muscles and grab the handles of the machine to stabilize your body. Start raising your heels maximally in a controlled movement. Bring the heels back down to complete one repetition. Calf raises can be performed on all leg press machines or racks.

Calf raises on the leg press

Calf raises on the leg press

 


Beginners should start performing calf raises slowly without extra weights. With the time they can move toward the machine exercises before they finally are able to work out with free weights.

Stretching: Calf stretches