Standing calf raises work to target the muscles of the calf, predominantly the outermost, larger muscles (ie: the muscles responsible for providing shape and definition of the calves.)
How to Properly Execute Standing Calf Raises
Standing calf raises are fairly easy to execute and can be done both inside and outside of a fitness center.
1. Stand on the outer edge of a step. If a step is unavailable to you, a step aerobics platform, a step stool, or any other raised platform will suffice.
2. Stand with you back straight, tuck your stomach muscles in tight, keep the balls of your feet mounted firmly against the step and your heels balancing over the edge. If you require balance or support, place your hands against a wall or sturdy object.
3. Slowly raise your heels and balance on your tiptoes on the edge of the step or platform.
4. Maintain this position for about forty five seconds and then lower your heels so that you return to starting position. You should feel a slight burn in your calves, it should not hurt.
Tips for Improving Standing Calf Raises
Stretch as high onto your tiptoes as your body will comfortably allow and then lower down as much as your ankles will bend without pain. Use slow and controlled motions, avoiding the urge to bounce up and down.
As you push, disperse the weight throughout the entire width of your foot. Do not lift from your big toe or the outer edge of the foot. This can cause serious muscle strain.
Machine Assisted Calf Raises: Performing Proper Toe Presses on a Leg Press Machine
While some people enjoy the full range of motion allowed when doing standing calf raises with the assistance of dumbbells for added weight, many fitness centers provide state of the art leg press machines.
1. Lie flat on the leg press machine keeping your shoulders placed tightly underneath the shoulder pad.
2. Straighten your legs, in a steady and controlled motion, to lift the weight stack. Carefully execute a reverse walking motion until your heels rest just off the end.
3. With straight legs, lift your heels (keeping your toes on the platform) and then lower them again.
4. Once every rep has been completed, slowly walk back towards the center of the foot plate and carefully lower the weights.