Body Weight Calf Exercises

 

There are two muscles in your calf that play a huge role in developing and maintaining your running power, velocity and momentum. They also work hard in controlling speed on down hills, absorbing impact and minimizing excessive foot motion. The largest and most visible muscle in your calf is your gastrocnemius muscle. There’s another one called your soleus that you can’t see because it’s hiding under your gastrocnemius. Both of them do a lot of work. Your gastrocnemius works more strongly when your knee is straight while your soleus works harder when your knee is bent. To maximize your fitness and running benefits you should include exercises to strengthen both muscles. Here are some body weight exercises that will get the job done.

 

Two Leg Calf Raise

 

Stand on the edge of a bench or step with the ball of your feet on the edge of the bench and your heel extending off the bench. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

 

With your legs fully extended, rise up on your toes as far as possible.

 

Now drop your heels down below the level of the bench as far as possible.

 

Rise up on your toes as far as possible again.

 

Keep following that pattern of rising up on your toes and dropping your heel below the level of the bench for your desired number of repetitions.

 

Don’t lock your knees at any time during this exercise.

 

This straight leg exercise emphasizes the use of your gastrocnemius muscle, the largest and most visible muscle in your calf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Leg Bent Knee Calf Raise

 

Stand on the edge of a bench or step with the ball of your feet on the edge of the bench and your heels extending off the bench. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

 

Bend your knees to about a 75 to 90 degree angle.

 

With your knees bent, rise up on your toes as far as possible.

 

Keeping your knees bent, drop your heels down below the level of the bench as far as possible.

 

Rise up on your toes as far as possible again.

 

Keep following that pattern of rising up on your toes and dropping your heel below the level of the bench for your desired number of repetitions.

 

Keep your knees bent at a 75 to 90 degree angle throughout the exercise.

 

This bent leg exercise emphasizes the use of your soleus muscle which is located under your larger gastrocnemius muscle.

 

One Leg Calf Raise

 

Stand on the edge of a bench or step with the ball of your right foot on the edge of the bench and your right heel extending off the bench. Hold your left foot and leg loosely off the bench with a bent knee. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

 

With your right leg fully extended, rise up on the toes of your right foot as far as possible. Keep your left foot and leg off the bench.

 

Now drop your right heel down below the level of the bench as far as possible.

 

Rise up on the toes of your right foot as far as possible again.

 

Keep following that pattern of rising up on your toes and dropping your heel below the level of the bench for your desired number of repetitions.

 

Don’t lock your knees at any time during this exercise.

 

Switch legs and repeat.

 

This straight leg exercise emphasizes the use of your gastrocnemius muscle, the largest and most visible muscle in your calf.

 

One Leg Bent Knee Calf Raise

 

Stand on the edge of a bench or step with the ball of your right foot on the edge of the bench and your right heel extending off the bench. Hold your left foot and leg loosely off the bench with a bent knee. Contract your abdominal muscles to stabilize your trunk and spine.

 

Bend your right knee to about a 75 to 90 degree angle.

 

With your right leg bent, rise up on the toes of your right foot as far as possible. Keep your left foot and leg off the bench.

 

Keeping your right knee bent at a 75 to 90 degree angle, drop your right heel down below the level of the bench as far as possible.

 

Rise up on the toes of your right foot as far as possible again.

 

Keep following that pattern of rising up on your toes and dropping your heel below the level of the bench for your desired number of repetitions.

 

Keep your knees bent at a 75 to 90 degree angle throughout the exercise.

 

Switch legs and repeat.

 

This bent leg exercise emphasizes the use of your soleus muscle which is located under your larger gastrocnemius muscle.

 

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