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Calf raises is an exercise in weight training. This exercise primarily works the muscles of the lower leg otherwise known as the calf. The muscles of the calf are called the gastrocnemius and soleus, making up the upper and lower calf muscles.

Calf raises can be carried out in a variety of ways, either seated or standing and by using either free weights or resistance machines.

Contents

Seated Calf Raises

Seated calf raise

Seated calf raises are executed by using a weight, such as a barbell, to provide resistance to the action of the calf muscles. The exercise is performed from a seated position while the weight rests on the upper leg, just above the knee. The person engaged in this exercise lifts the weight by pushing down on the balls of his feet.

Standing Calf Raises

Standing calf raise with dumbbells

To execute the standing calf raises using free weights such as a barbell find a raised surface to stand on, stand upright with the barbell across your shoulders, your feet shoulder width apart and place the balls of your feet on the edge of the raised surface so your heel is not supported.

To carry out the movement correctly raise your heels as high as possible without moving your feet, you should feel the calf muscles tighten, then slowly move your heels back down as far as possible then repeat.

Exercise Notes

The commonly accepted theory is that the muscles of the leg (gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis anterior and posterior, fibularis longus and brevis) are predominantly made up of slow twitch fibre types, and as such should respond better to higher rep ranges. It is not uncommon to hear of some fitness trainers using reps of 50 or more, though it has been argued that reps beyond 15 - 20 accomplish little in the way of muscular benefit.

As with any muscle group, it is best to experiment with repetition ranges to find the best workout for your body.

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