Most people ignore working on calves in their strength workout. But if you look for the importance of calves, you will find that they help in many daily activities such as walking, running, jumping, reaching, etc. It is important to include calf exercises in your workout.
What Is Standing Calf Raise?
Standing calf raise is an exercise that targets calf muscles. It is a beginner-level exercise that anyone can add to their strength training. After a regular practice of standing calf raise, they experience a significant increase in the strength of their lower half body. Since you do not require any equipment except a yoga mat to do standing calf raise exercise, you can add this exercise to your home workout.
Benefits of Standing Calf Raises
Down below is the list of the five most important health benefits of practising standing calf raise and the standing weighted calf raises variations:
- Strengthens Your Ankles & Increases Stability: Your calf muscles stabilize the plantar-flexion of your ankles joint. When you increase the strength of your calf muscles, you also make the ankle plantar-flexion perform better. This helps in stabilizing the ankle while you run or take a load.
- Improves Your Lower Body Performance: If you are a beginner at home or gym workout, you will find it a little hard to pull weights or squat heavier. This happens because you can not fully extend your knees and hips. Practising the traditional standing calf raise or its variations like the one leg standing calf raise and standing dumbbell calf raise will help you improve your lower body performance.
- Helps You With Injury Prevention: The most common reason for stability deficiencies while running/squatting and gait issues is weak ankles and calves. By improving your ankle stability with a standing calf raise, you can save yourself from injuries.
- Improves Your Athletic Performance: Everyone knows that strong hamstrings and glutes can improve sprinting and running performance. But only a few realize that calves are also essential to increase muscular output and explosiveness. If you do short-duration sprinting, standing calf raise exercise can help you absorb more impact force from the ground.
- Improvise Your Looks: If you want to develop some serious slabs of meat, you should definitely practice the weighted version of standing calf raise such as standing barbell calf raise and standing DB calf raises.
Here is a list of some other standing calf raises:
- With standing DB calf raises, you can hit different muscles of your legs by changing your leg position.
- You can do calves muscle correction with a single leg standing calf raise.
How To Do Standing Calf Raise?
Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you know how to do standing calf raise the right way:
- Stand straight on a yoga mat with a straight back, abs pulled in, and toes pointing forward.
- Keep your feet at a shoulder-wide distance from each other and pull your shoulder back and down.
- Extend your knees and raise your heels from the mat.
- When you reach the maximum height and stand on your toes, pause for a second.
- Now, lower heels back to the mat, and return to the position where you started this exercise.
Standing Calf Raise Variations
There are multiple variations of this exercise. Single leg standing calf raise requires you to stand on a single leg while there are some standing weighted calf raises that require you to lift weights. Here is a list of the most common variations:
- Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise: You will need a dumbbell and a weight scale to practice this exercise. You can change the position of the foot to hit different muscles of your legs. For example, toes pointing in works on the outer head while toes out strengthens the inner head.
- Standing Single Leg Calf Raise: Also known as one leg standing calf raise, this variation of standing calf raise works on each calf muscle separately. Instead of using a weight scale, you have to use a large block in standing single leg calf raise. Raise the heel of the leg that is not resting on the block and you will be able to work on each calf muscle separately.
- Standing Barbell Calf Raise: Another weighted standing calf raise, this exercise helps in building strong legs. The only thing you have to keep in mind is to never start the exercise with heavy barbells.
Here is a list of the common mistakes people do while practising calf exercises:
- Not Stretching Enough: As we mentioned above, preventing you from injuries is one reason why you should try standing bodyweight calf raise. However, if you do not stretch enough before practising this exercise, you might put a strain on your muscles.
- Not Controlling The Tempo: Yes, this is an easy exercise but most people mistake the ease as a yes for going too fast. You have to control your tempo while raising and lowering your heels or else you might injure yourself while practising this exercise.
- Leaning Forward: You have to keep your back and chest straight while practising standing calf raise. Leaning forward will not only reduce the effectiveness of this exercise but also increase the chances of developing back pain.
- Not Doing Enough Reps: Standing calf raises requires only a small range of motion of your legs. If you do not repeat the exercise, you can not maximize its results. As a beginner, you can start with 10-30 reps, depending on the comfort of your ankles.
- Resting Too Much: This is a low-impact exercise, hence you do not need to take a pause of more than one second while your heel is back on the ground. If you take more rest, you will decrease the effectiveness of standing calf raise.
Ignoring calf muscles can be a huge mistake for your lower body strength. And the easiest way for strengthening calves is the standing bodyweight calf raise. Increase the reps of this exercise gradually and you will end up with strong calves and improved athletic performance.
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