6 Exercises to strengthen and tone your calf muscles

Are you looking to strengthen your calf muscles? Add these exercises to your workout routine and watch your calves grow.

Intermediate Exercises to tone your calves

How to do weighted calf raises to tone the back of your legs

  • Choose two dumbbells of equal weight
  • Hold one in each hand by your sides
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Make sure your toes are pointing straight ahead
  • Slowly move all your weight onto the balls of your feet until your heels are completely off the floor
  • Stretch until you can feel the tension in your calves
  • Hold this position for a moment
  • Slowly move back onto your heels
  • Return to starting position
  • Repeat the exercise

How to do calf raises whilst sitting to tone the back of your legs

  • Choose a suitable weight for a straight barbell bar
  • Take a block and place it in front of your bench
  • While seated on the edge of your bench, place the balls of your feet on the block
  • Pick up your barbell and place it over your upper thighs, above the knee
  • Raise the weight up on your toes as high as possible to stretch the calves comfortably
  • Return your legs down to the starting position
  • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions

How to do calf raises to work your lower legs

  • Stand up straight and use either a chair or wall to help retain your balance
  • Position your feet at the same width as your hips
  • Slowly raise from your heels until you are on tiptoe
  • Continue to balance the weight on the balls of your feet
  • Hold that position for as many seconds as you comfortably can
  • Gently lower yourself back to your starting position
  • Aim for 15-20 repetitions per set – and up to four sets in a session
  • Optional – hold items of equal weight in each hand as you exercise or rest the weight over your shoulders.

Advanced Exercises to work your calves

How to do weighted calf raises whilst squatting to work the calf muscles harder

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointing straight forwards
  • Hold adequate weight across the top of your back on a bar
  • Keep your back straight and slowly lower your buttocks towards the floor until your knees are at a 90 degree angle
  • Do not let your knees move in front of your toes
  • Push through the balls of your feet to rise up onto your tiptoes
  • Hold this position for a moment, the start to lower yourself back down so your heels are down
  • Repeat all reps before returning to a standing position

How to do a calf raise with a barbell to challenge the back of your legs

  • Choose a barbell of an appropriate weight
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Lift the barbell onto your shoulders, behind your head
  • Position yourself on a stair or raised surface, so that the balls of your feet are flat on the ground, and your heels are hanging off the edge of the surface
  • Holding the barbell securely, slowly raise yourself onto your toes
  • Hold the position for a moment
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat the exercise

How to do a calf raise using a smith machine to tone your lower legs

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and the smith bar across your shoulders (Add a step if you want to make it harder)
  • Adjust your position so that the balls of your feet are on the step and your heels are hanging off the back edge
  • Slowly raise yourself onto your toes
  • Hold your position for a second, feeling the tension in your calves
  • Slowly lower yourself back down onto the balls of your feet
  • Repeat the exercise