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Calf Raise - Calf Strengthening Exercise

Strengthen the gastrocnemius (calf) muscle with a simple calf raise

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Updated July 05, 2011

Calf Raise Exercise

Calf Raise Exercise

(c) E. Quinn
The calf (gastrocnemius) muscle is a large muscle that runs along the back of the lower leg from the thigh to the heel. In anatomical terms, the muscle has two heads that attach on the medial and lateral condyles of the femur. The muscle runs down the leg to join with the soleus muscle and finally attaches to the large Achilles tendon which inserts at the back of the calcaneous (heel bone).

The calf muscle is a powerful foot flexor. It primarily helps point the toes (plantar flexion) and contracts during powerful and explosive movements such as running, jumping and sprinting.

The most common injury to this muscle is a calf pull or strain.

One simple exercise that can improve the strength of the calf muscle is the calf raise.

How to Do the Calf Raise Exercise

  • Warm up with gentle stationary cycling, walking, or marching in place for several minutes prior to performing any strengthening exercises.
  • Stand on the balls of your feet on the edge of a sturdy box or step, keeping your heels free.
  • Maintain control at all times and slowly lift up as high as you can on both toes for a count of three.
  • Slowly lower yourself until your heels are just below the step.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times per leg.
  • As it becomes easy, perform the calf raise on one foot at a time.
  • Add this to your general strengthening routine 2 to 3 times per week.

Also see: Warming Up Before Exercise

  • Stretching the Calf Muscle
  • Stretching the Achilles Tendon
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