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Standing Calf Raises

Standing calf raises -- exercise for the muscles of the lower legs

Standing calf raises are an excellent exercise for lower leg development. They complement seated calf raises, as these exercises work the calf muscles in different ways.

Start standing upright with legs extended

Standing calf raises -- starting position

Standing calf raises -- starting position

The pads should be comfortably on the shoulders. Keep your head up and back straight.

Let the feet pivot upward at the ankles, allowing the calf muscles to stretch.

Extend the feet at the ankles

Standing calf raises -- second position

Standing calf raises -- second position

Make sure the forefoot is stably on the platform. Contract the calf muscles to extend the feet at the ankles. Pause briefly, then return to the starting position.

Make controlled movements

Make your movements smooth with this exercise. Don't jerk or let the weight down suddenly. With this apparatus you have weight on your back, and you don't want to jar your back.

You should also avoid sudden stresses on the Achilles tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the foot at the back of the ankle. The tendon is very strong, but it is sensitive to sudden dramatic increased tension.

Muscles exercised

This exercise primarily develops the soleus, the deep muscle in the calf, and the gastrocnemius, the more superficial muscle.

The gastrocnemius attaches to the lower femur bone in the thigh, so it works across two joints -- the knee and the ankle.

Therefore the gastrocnemius is emphasized a little more in this exercise -- since the knee is held straight -- than it is with seated calf raises.

Variations of the exercise

Standing calf raises can be done anywhere. You can do them on stairs, on a curb or on any raised platform.

Just make sure that wherever you do them you have a stable surface to stand on and that there is something for you to hold onto to maintain your balance.

You can do standing calf raises with one leg to make them more challenging. Just count the repetitions and switch back and forth between legs.

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