What Are Calf Raises and How Do You Do Them?
Maybe you’re looking for an exercise that can help you with your vertical jump.
Maybe you’re trying to find a way to increase your running speed.
Maybe you’ve seen someone in your gym doing calf raises and you’re not sure if you should be doing them or not.
No matter what reason you have for searching for information on calf raises, you’re in the right place to learn about their benefits and how to properly do them.
Benefits of Calf Raises
Calf raises will help you build strength in your calf muscles for improved functionality.
They will also help you increase the size of your calf muscles for aesthetics.
Calf raises can also help stabilize your ankle and help you improve your balance.
They can be used for stretching and building strength during rehabilitation after an Achilles tendon injury.
How to Perform a Calf Raise
Properly performing a calf raise is easy, but there are some variations you can have to help you reach your goals. You can do bodyweight calf raises or you can do weighted calf raises.
There are also exercise machines you can use at the gym to add resistance as you perform calf raises.
To perform a basic standing calf raise, stand with your side by side at hip width.
If it’s more comfortable you can bring your feet a little closer together or a little further apart. You can try different positions for your feet until you find what’s comfortable.
Once your feet are side by side, just raise your heels off of the floor several inches, shifting your weight to your toes.
Hold that position for several seconds, and then lower your heels back to the floor.
Use controlled movements while raising and lowering your heels. Repeat until you have fatigued your muscles, or do several sets of these exercises.
Once you have the basic calf raise perfected, you can add weight in a variety of ways.
You can use a weighted barbell across your shoulders while doing calf raises.
You can hold dumbbells or kettlebells in each hand while doing calf raises. You can hold a weighted medicine ball while doing calf raises if you have one on hand. You can also put ankle weights on your ankles to add resistance while doing calf raises.
To continue to strengthen your calves, keep adding resistance by increasing weight or repetitions.
If you have a gym membership you can use one of several types of calf raise machines.
There are some that are for standing calf raises and there are some styles for seated calf raises.
You can also use a leg press machine with lighter weight to work your calves.
If you’re not sure how to use the machines at your gym, ask for help so you don’t get injured and have setbacks to your strength and fitness.
Now that you know the benefits of a calf raise and how to perform one properly, you’re ready to add them to your fitness regimen.
Do bodyweight calf raises and then move on to weighted calf raises, or you can change things up randomly.
You can also do calf raises while pumping gas, waiting in line, or any other time you have to wait for something.
5 Exercises for Toning Your Calves
Many people struggle to get the calves that they desire.
Some people have smaller calves than they want, some have larger calves than they want, some have big calves that lack the ideal definition.
If you’re here, my guess is that your calves are not as defined as you’d like them to be, whether they’re the right size, too small, or too large for your ideal.
If this is the case, your problem isn’t going to be solved with exercise alone, you’ll also have to address your diet.
The key to having a toned look is to uncover the muscle to show the definition by losing the fat covering it.
You can not turn fat into muscle, but you can build your muscles and lose the fat covering them.
To uncover your muscles, you’ll have to lower your overall body fat percentage by eating fewer calories than you need. Your body will get rid of the fat over time and you’ll have the toned calves you want.
Below are some helpful exercises to strengthen and build your calves while you’re working to uncover them.
Any exercise you do will also help you to burn more calories.
1) Weighted Calf Raises
A basic calf raise is where you stand up with your feet about hip width apart in a natural position.
You will lift your heels off the ground several inches, shifting your weight to your toes.
Hold that position for a couple seconds, and then lower to the ground.
Repeat until your legs are fatigued.
Weighted calf raises can be done using a barbell, dumbbells, or a calf raise machine to add resistance.
2) Seated Calf Raises
If you have access to a seated calf raise machine, it’s an excellent exercise.
It’s like a standing calf raise, eccept for you are sitting and using your calves to lift a weighted bar.
3) Vertical Leg Press Machine Toe Presses
If you have access to a vertical leg press machine, you can use it to do toe presses.
You will just place your feet on the vertical leg press and push forward with your toes to press the weight.
This will help you build strong calves.
4) Jumping Rope
Jumping rope will help you strengthen your calves, ankles, and cardiovascular system.
It’s easy to do and convenient.
5) Stair Stretch or Heel Drop Stretch
Stretching your calves will keep your muscles long and lean, and prevent muscle knotting.
This is just as important as strengthening your muscles.
To do a heel drop stretch, stand with your toes on the edge of a step or curb.
Slowly drop your heel down while keeping your toe on the step. You will feel a stretch through your calf.
The exercises above will help you build strong calf muscles, but to get the toned look you want, you’ll have to lower your overall body fat percentage so that you can uncover your muscle.
Use a healthy diet and a consistent exercise routine to help you stay in a calorie deficit so you can lose weight and reach your goals of sexy, toned, calves and body.