If you’re looking to grow your calves, calf raises are the exercise for you.
This exercise can be performed anywhere on a flat surface, on a step or on a calf raise machine. All variations can be loaded with weight for extra gains.
How to perform calf raises
Calf raises with a barbell; rest the barbell across your shoulders, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise your heels up shifting your weight onto the balls of your feet – squeeze your calves at the top. Lower back down and go for reps.
Calf raises with dumbbells/kettlebells; hold a weight in each hand, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise your heels up shifting your weight onto the balls of your feet – squeeze your calves at the top. Lower back down and go for reps.
Using the calf raise machine; load your desired weight plate, take a seat – tuck your knees under the knee pad, and raise your heels up shifting your weight onto the balls of your feet – squeeze your calves at the top. Lower back down and go for reps.
For a wider range of motion on the first two variations above; perform your calf raises on a step and let your heel drop right down below the step before coming back up on your toes.
Calf raises: Common mistakes to avoid
Avoid rushing through the reps. As a rule of thumb, you should start to feel the burn in your calves towards the end of your first set.
It is important to work the full range of motion, just like any other exercise. Sloppy sets seldom get results, so take your time and ensure that you are engaging and working your calves as intended.
Reps and sets
As with all exercises, your calf raises need to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Reps and sets performed depend entirely on where you are physically and of course your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. For the purpose of laying a solid foundation to build upon; don’t over complicate things. The most important thing at this stage is to get started, the rest will most definitely come with experience.
On the other hand, more advanced lifters will need to consider their current strength and goals.
Beyond calf raises...
More leg exercises coming soon...
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