Single-Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
The standing calf raise has variations that you may want to try. Standing dumbbell calf raise is just one of them. You will use dumbbells instead of a barbell or machine.
Single-leg standing dumbbell calf raise is particularly useful if one calf is larger than the other, because you can work more on the smaller leg until the calves are about the same size.
Exercises with the knees locked (legs straight), such as single-leg standing dumbbell calf raises, work the gastrocnemius.
The calf muscles are strong and do not tire easily, as they have to work hard in walking or running, basic human activities since the dawn of time. Because of this, sets need to be heavy.
Other names for this exercise:
- Dumbbell Unilateral Standing Calf Raise
- Single-Leg Heel Raise
Exercise Instructions – Correct Technique
STARTING (INITIAL) POSITION: With your body vertical, place the front part of one foot (from the ball joint to the toe) on a step. Cross your nonworking leg behind your working leg. Hold a dumbbell in one hand, with your palm turned inward. With the other hand, hold onto a bar or machine for support as you raise and lower yourself. Keep your working leg straight and lower your heel down as far as possible to stretch the calves.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Press your toes to lift up your heel by contracting the calf muscles to raise as high as you can on the ball of your foot. Hold at the top for two counts before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Important Tips for Single-Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
- Keep your torso stationary and perpendicular to the floor throughout the exercise (spine in an neutral position). Otherwise, you’re bringing other muscles into play and reducing the benefit to your calves.
- Keep your body in one continuous line throughout the movement.
- Don’t bend your torso to the front or rear.
- Rise up on the ball of your foot until your heel is higher than your toes.
- Pivot on the balls of your foot.
- Keep your working leg straight during the entire movement; since the gastrocnemius muscle crosses two joints, if the knee bend, the emphasis shifts to the soleus.
- Be sure not to “bounce” up at the bottom of the motion to help you lift the weight.
- Primary: gastrocnemius
- Secondary: soleus
Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise Variations
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift both heels at a time.
- Hold a dumbbell in just one hand and lift both heels at a time.