Calf muscles are often neglected as many people tend to focus larger thigh muscles. For athlete who wants optimum propulsive power to run, lower legs are crucial. Therefore, it is important to train that muscle. Standing calves raise is another great low leg workout. Generally, calf muscles are made up of gastrocnemius and soleus. Seated calf raise challenges your soleus muscle whereas standing calf raise emphasises the gastrocnemius muscle.
- Set a barbell on a power rack and put a block of wood, step or something similar nearby. If your gym does not have power rack, a Smith machine is good enough too. Position your back under the barbell with both hands to sides, just like if you were doing squats.
- Set your feet about shoulder-width apart
- Position your toes and balls of feet on the block with arches and heels extending off and resting on the floor. This block allows the workout to be performed with the heels below toes, a position that works the calf muscles over a greater range of movement.
- Your feet should be facing forward, not spread outwards or turned inwards.
- Now, raise your heels on your toes by extending ankles as high as possible. Pause for a second at the top position.
- Then, slowly lower your heels by bending your ankles until your calves are stretched. Keep your knees straight throughout exercise.
- Perform 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.
- Instead of using barbell, you can also do this with dumbbells in your hands. However, I found that barbell is a better choice your arms may get tired with dumbbells.
- The lowering motion is the part that really works the muscle. So, raise it in fast motion (in count of one) but lower to a count of three.
- Do not pause in the bottom position unless you are trying to increase your ankle flexibility.
- You can use standing calves raise machine too.
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