How to Do Standing Calf Raises: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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Calves are often overlooked when it comes to weight training, but they’re an important part of many activities—from walking and running to jumping and reaching. Add calves to your lower body to make all of these moves easier.

Target: Leg muscles

Necessary equipment: Gym or yoga mat (optional)

Level: Beginners

How to do a standing calf lift?

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand on an exercise or yoga mat with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward. If you don’t have a mat, you can do the calf lift standing on the floor. Keep your back straight, shoulders back and down, and abs in.

  1. Slowly raise your heels up, keeping your knees extended (but not locked).
  2. Pause for a second as you stand on your toes as much as you can.
  3. Lower your heels back to the ground, returning to the starting position.

Since it doesn’t require weights or other equipment, the calves stand is an easy exercise to do at home, at the gym, and while traveling.

Benefits of standing calf lift

The vertical calf lift activates two muscles that run down the back of the lower leg: the abs and the soleus. These muscles are integral to the flexion and extension of the ankle, which promotes running and jumping.

The sternocleidomastoid muscles also work in tandem with the hamstrings to control knee flexion, while the sole muscle maintains proper balance and pumps blood from your legs back to your heart. When weak, calf muscles stretch and tear more easily.

Calf lifts are an easy, low-impact method to strengthen the stomach and intestines. Strong, flexible calf muscles for better stability and balance, reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries, and more agile when running and jumping.

Once strengthened, the gastrointestinal fast-twitch muscle fibers allow for faster, more explosive movement, making this exercise a great exercise for amateurs as well as athletes. Calf-lifting capacity can also indicate an elderly person’s ability to participate in activities of daily living.

Strong calf muscles contribute to overall stability, reducing stress on the Achilles tendon, and give the lower leg a defined appearance.

Other variations of the standing calf lift

You can do this exercise in a number of different ways to better meet your goals and fitness level.

Sitting with calf lift

Perform the calf lift in a position that works only for the single muscle (located below the stomach muscle). However, this is a good option for those who find it difficult to balance while standing.

Sit on a chair with your back straight, shoulders back and down, focusing on your body and feet on the ground. Push the ball of your foot down while lifting your heel off the ground. You can do both heels together or step by step.

Ben Goldstein / Verywell

Assisted standing calf lift

If you find it difficult to balance while standing with your calves raised, you can also do this exercise while clinging to the back of a chair or to a wall to help stabilize yourself. Follow the same steps; Just use one or both arms to hold the chair or wall.

Change foot position

Changing the way you position your feet changes the action of the muscles. Turn your toes slightly inward and you’ll work the inner calf muscles more; Rotate them out a bit and you put more outer calf stretch.

Standing calves raised on one step

You can increase the range of motion of the calf lift by doing it on a ladder or stairs. This allows your heel to drop further during the off-centre portion of the exercise.

To do it, stand with the balls of your feet on a step or step, push your heels up as high as you can, then lower slowly until your heels are directly under your head. ladder or ladder. When you feel a stretch in your calf muscles (tense, painless), return to the starting position.

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Dumbbell Standing Calf Raise

Use dumbbells, kettlebells, or even gallons of water to add weight to your lift. This can help you build strength in your calves as they work harder to lift more weight. Hold the dumbbells by your side throughout this movement with your arms hanging down.

If you’re ready to take this calf-lifting variation to the next level, try lifting weights or using weights.

Common mistake

Avoid these mistakes to keep your standing calf lift safe and effective.

Do not stretch first

Stretching is perhaps the most important component of calf exercises because it prevents workout-related cramps and reduced flexibility. Take 5 to 10 minutes to stretch your calves before exercising to avoid these problems.

Go too fast

Control the tempo of the exercise to see the full benefits of standing calves. Making movements too fast doesn’t work – at least in the beginning. It’s best to raise and lower your heels slowly to increase strength and improve aesthetics.

Once you’ve mastered the calf raises, you can do them with more force and power to get the most benefit from this exercise.

Fast forward

For proper balance while performing the calf lift, keep your chest up and stand straight. Leaning too far forward will reallocate your body weight (and the weight of dumbbells if you’re using them), which can cause back pain and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

Too little representation

Since standing calves are an isolation exercise with a small range of motion, you’re better off doing a higher number of repetitions to maximize the movement. The sweet spot for reps depends on how much weight you’re using (if any), but 10 to 30 is a good place to start.

Safety and Precautions

Calf lifts are generally safe for everyone, but if you’ve recently had a lower body injury, talk to your doctor or physical therapist before doing this exercise.

To avoid injury during your workout, focus on moving slowly, keeping your knees bent, and pushing your shoulders back to prevent your spine from rounding. If you feel pain, stop exercising and consult a doctor.

For people who are sedentary and lightly active, the calf muscles can be overworked (stretch) due to lack of flexibility during exercise. To avoid aggravating the problem, it is important to stretch or roll the foam both before and after exercise.

With the right stretch, standing calf raises can be a helpful part of a regular strength-training routine. Do this exercise 10 to 30 times, starting at the lower end of this range and working your way to the higher end as your calves become stronger.


Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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