The calf or heel raise is one of the most common exercises that people are given by numerous health and fitness practitioners to activate and strengthen your calf muscles in the back of your lower leg. They are often taught and done incorrectly and inefficiently.
The exercise consists of resting your hands on a bench or wall, point your feet straight ahead and push up onto your toes as high as you can trying to push through all your toes and your big toe more than the outside toes. If you roll out on your foot and ankle you will feel the outside of your calf work. When pushing through the big and 2nd toe your foot and ankle stay in a more square position and you will feel the middle and inside of your calf more.
You will do this with your knee straight which will feel the burn in the upper half of your calf ( Gastrocnemius ) and then with your knee bent to about 30 degrees you will feel the burn in your lower half of your calf ( Soleus ).
If you roll out on your foot and ankle you will feel the outside of your calf work. When pushing through the big and 2nd toe your foot and ankle stay in a more square postion and you will feel the middle and inside of your calf more.
Your goal is to get to 20 – 30 reps for each position and if you can achieve that then you will feel the burn in the whole calf and strengthen the muscles.
I feel the outside of my calf working > shift your weight so that you push through the big and second toe more than the outside toes and keep your foot pointing straight ahead.
I can’t feel the burn up at the top of my calf > make sure you lock your knee before you lift up.
What muscle groups does this exercise use?
- Gastrocnemius muscle (high muscle in calf) > Straight knee
- Soleus muscle (deep muscle runs all the way along your calf) > Bent knee
- Peroneus Brevis
- Peroneus Longus
- Tibialis posterior
- Flexor Hallucis longus
- Calf strength
- Ankle Strength and Stability
- Lower Body Performance
- Injury Prevention
- Build calf muscle