Bodyweight Exercises - Single Leg Calf Raises
Muscles Targeted: As the name implies, the single leg calf
raise works the calf muscles in the lower leg. It also works the
muscles in the hamstrings, foot and hips. Since this is a unilateral
exercise where the body is working one side at a time, it's also
a great way to work balance and control muscles in the core and
along the spine.
Exercise Advice: Begin by finding a step or ledge that allows
your ankle to flex about 30-45 degrees. Using a solid object to
hang onto like a handrail or seat pad may be helpful to maintain
control and balance. Place the foot of the leg you wish to work
on the step so the ball of the foot is in contact but the rest of
the foot and heel is over the ledge. Step up so your body weight
is on the working foot with your hips level and your posture upright.
Slowly sink your weight down by letting your heel drop and your
ankle flex. Pause when you feel a light stretch in the calf and
then extend your ankle by pushing through the ball of the foot until
you are standing, like you're on your tippy toes. Repeat for reps
and then do the same movement on the other side.
Things To Avoid: Avoid leaning forwards as this will diminish
the amount of weight over your ankle and reduce the resistance on
the calf muscles. Also, be sure to keep your hips level to the ground
so one side does not twist or tilt upwards. If you are holding onto
something, place light pressure through your hand. Too much grip
can cause the upper body to assist with the exercise and make it
Reps and Sets: Calf work is typically a high rep sort of
workout. Rep ranges between 15-30 are good with sets between 2-3
on each side.
Other Exercises To Use: Calf raises work great with all
other ground based leg exercises such as squats,
jumping, and deadlifts.
They also go well with various cardio exercises like running, biking,
hiking and dancing.
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