As the fitness adage goes, friends don’t let friends forget leg day.
If you’ve been targeting your upper body strength and need to balance your weight training regimen with lower bodywork, Calf Raises offer a popular option. They are easy for beginners to pick up, and they can be made more challenging for advanced practice.
What Are Calf Raises?
Calf Raises are a popular exercise method for strengthening the lower leg muscles, including the gastrocnemius, tibialis posterior and soleus. The movement performed is referred to as plantar flexion, more commonly called ankle extension.
History Of The Calf Raise
Calf Raises, like many traditional bodyweight exercises, have long been part of our physical culture. Although no one knows exactly when they were invented or named, they have a long history among both professional athletes and amateurs.
Calf Raises target the calf muscles, working to build strength. They are a bodyweight strength exercise because you only need the weight of your own body to perform them. They can be done standing on level ground or on a Calf Raise Machine, but they are most effective when done on the edge of a raised platform or a step.
Preparing To Execute The Perfect Calf Raise
To complete Calf Raises, you’ll first need to determine whether you want to use a seated Calf Raise Machine, a level exercise mat or a step/platform.
Stretch your ankles and calf muscles before beginning.
Completing The Most Popular Form: Standing Calf Raises On A Step
To perform the most effective Calf Raises, follow these steps:
- Approach your step or platform.
- Stand up and rest your hands against a wall (or a sturdy object like a chair) to maintain balance.
- Place your feel on the step, with your heels hanging off the back.
- Raise your heels up several inches, so you’re on tiptoe.
- Hold this position for 1-2 seconds.
- Lower your heels back down, so that they go below the step and create a feeling of stretching in your calf muscles.
- Repeat three sets of ten repetitions.
As you perform Calf Raises, keep the following posture guidance in mind:
- Shoulders back
- Core tight
- Standing straight
- Don’t round your shoulders
Understanding The Benefits
Calf Raises have been popular for a long time for good reason – they are effective and easy to learn. They also offer these benefits:
- Ankle stability and strength
- Lower body performance
- Injury prevention
- Enhanced running performance, especially sprinting
- Larger, more muscular calves
Several Options: Calf Raises To Suit Your Fitness Needs
Calf Raises may be done standing or sitting. When standing, you can choose to keep your feet flat on the ground or use a step or platform for extra muscle stretch. You may also choose where you place your hands, with the most popular options being on the hips, behind the head or holding a wall or sturdy chair for support. You may also choose to hold hand weights for a more challenging exercise regimen.
Calf Raises have stood the test of time as a reliable – and versatile – lower leg workout. If you haven’t added them to your fitness routine yet, it’s never too late to start.