The one leg calf raise (standing) exercise is a great way to focus on creating shapely strong calves. Add in a dumbbell for extra work, and even better results. It’s simple to get the hang of, but is a surprisingly tough workout for the lower legs.
Great if you want to add a little more shape to your calves, and also really useful for improving balance.
One Leg Calf Raise Instructional Video Guide
Here is a quick video demo showing how the exercise should be done. Have a look and then I’ll go through exactly what to do. This is great since you don’t need any special equipment at all, so everyone can have a go at home.
(You don’t need to have a dog watching, but it helps.)
How to Do a One Leg Calf Raise To Shape and Tone Calves
As you can see from the video, there is nothing complicated about this exercise at all. You don’t need any equipment, and even the weight is optional. Body weight alone will still give your calves a good workout. But, if you want to get stronger performing the calf raise with a dumbbell does up the ante a lot.
Find yourself a solid step a few inches high that has some support next to it. You don’t want to lean too hard onto the support, but it is really useful for balance.
- With a dumbbell in your right hand, stand with the ball of your right foot on the step, with the arch and heel hanging over.
- Lift your left foot off the floor a little (you can hook it around the back of your right leg for a little more stability).
- Now let your right heel drop as far down as possible. You will really stretch out the calf at this point. This is your starting position.
- Now push up from the ball of your foot as high as you can.
- Hold the top position for a few seconds, really squeezing that calf.
- Drop back down the start position keeping your motion totally under control.
- Repeat for 12-15 reps for both legs (for 3-5 sets).
Keep the movement slow, steady and always under control. Start with your weakest leg and keep your torso tight, back straight looking ahead.
Don’t start off with too heavy a weight, use something you’re comfortable with, and add to it each time you perform calf raises. Your calves should already be very strong, since they’re carrying you around all day. Don’t underestimate what they can do. But, likewise, that dumbbell should be manageable, particularly since you must be standing tall and straight.
To get the most benefit, you need the widest range of movement possible. So don’t cheat! Make sure you are dropping your heel as far as possible and raising your leg as high as you can too.
Calf Isolation Exercises – Worth Doing?
The truth is you don’t need to practice such isolation exercises as the one legged dumbbell calf raise. Core workouts are far more efficient if they focus on compound movements, improving multiple muscle groups. However, the humble calf raise is a good supplemental exercise to perform in addition to your main workout routine.
Hey they’re simple to get the hang of, and can be performed just about anywhere, so why not throw in a few sets whenever you go upstairs?
If you want to improve your balance, or simply create more shapely defined calves these will help you no end. But a few dead-lifts with a trap-bar are going to do your legs far more good over-all!
Additionally, a regular 30 minute hike over hilly, rough terrain will give your calves an equally good workout, and might be more fun!