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Standing Calf Raise

Turn your calves into cows with this popular calf exercise.

Illustration by Joanna Culley

Muscles Targeted
Gastrocnemius (calves)

How To

  • Stand beneath the shoulder pads of a standing calf-raise machine, with the balls of your feet at the edge of the footrest.
  • Keep your legs straight, with just a very slight bend in your knees, and press your heels down toward the floor to stretch the calves.
  • Raise your heels by contracting the calf muscles to rise as high as you can on the balls of your feet. Hold this position for a second, flexing your calf muscles as hard as possible, then lower your heels back to the start position.
  • Repeat for reps.


Take-Home Tips

  • Focus on getting a good stretch in the calves in the bottom position and on feeling the calves contract in the top position.
  • Change up the weight and rep ranges used by going with lighter weight for high reps in some workouts, moderate weight for moderate reps in some workouts and heavy weight for lower reps in some workouts.
  • Start most calf workouts with this exercise when the calves are strongest and follow with seated calf raises to also hit the soleus.

Alternatives

  • Smith-Machine Standing Calf Raise
  • Dumbbell One-Leg Standing Calf Raise

Standing calf raise

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