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2 Calf Exercises To Avoid And Try These 4 Instead

Standing calf raises like crunches get much more attention than it deserves. In fact, this exercise is not going to give you the strength or muscle

2 Calf Exercises To Avoid And Try These 4 Instead
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Standing calf raises like crunches get much more attention than it deserves. In fact, this exercise is not going to give you the strength or muscle size you 're looking for — it's just a waste of your time.

Instead, Sam Chan, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City shares some of his favorite weighted and plyometric calf exercises that will offer a more balanced and efficient workout for these muscles.

2 Calf Workouts To Avoid During The Next Workout

1. Standing Calf Raises

Standing calf elevations are possibly the most common exercise and may also be one of the most ineffective. Doing calf raises from the table, Chan says, prevents the muscle from going into its full range of motion.

Although at the top of the exercise, you may contract your calf muscle, getting full movement is crucial if you are going to build serious strength and size. Plus, it's easy to use a bounce or use momentum to get through the reps, taking the strain out of your calves, says Chan.

2. Calf Raise On Leg Press Machine

Although the leg press machine is mainly intended to hit the quads, there are several gym-goers that use the calf raises system. Yet unfortunately, this motion does not really do much to strengthen your calf muscles.

You need to force the weight against gravity for any strength-building exercise otherwise the move will not be successful. And, because they don't require a lot of pressing against gravity, raising the calf in the leg press would probably not have enough muscle resistance, Chan says.
"Being loaded into the leg press machine will require a lot of weight to actually get to the point where your calves would be challenged," he says. "It may be risky though because the knees are at risk of hyperextending during the workout."

Do These 4 Calf Exercises Instead

1. Weighted Calf Deficit Raise

If you're very committed to raising the calf, it's more advantageous to take a move back, Chan says. It would allow the calf to stretch to the bottom of the motion, allowing you to focus on the full motion range.
  1. Stand at the edge of a step or another elevated platform on the balls of your feet.
  2. Place in your possession a pair of dumbbells, or kettlebells. Hold your knees tight.
  3. Lower your heels toward the floor by a few inches.
  4. Push into the feet's balls and lift the heels to the sky as high as possible.
  5. Just stop for a second here.
  6. Lower your heels to the floor to the full, so that your calves are in a stretch.
  7. Pause for a moment in here.
  8. Return to the midpoint, and repeat.
Quick Tip
Don't be afraid to load this exercise with some heavyweight. "The calves have great endurance and are very fatigue resistance, so you need to be working at a higher rep scheme than most of your other exercises in order to stimulate growth," Chan says.

2. Press Sit Soleus

  1. Start sitting on a chair on a step or barbell plate with your toes elevated. Place a peso in your lap.
  2. Lower your heels toward the floor by a few inches.
  3. Press your toes into the move and tip your heels toward the sky. Pause for a moment in here.
  4. Fully drop the heels toward the floor to stretch out the calves. Stopover here.
  5. Return to your next rep for the starting place.

3. Single-Leg Jump Box

  1. Stand before a low box or phase.
  2. Standing on your right leg, bend your hips and knees slightly and bring your arms behind you.
  3. Swing your arms up and down, landing with your right leg atop the frame.
  4. Step off the box carefully and repeat.
  5. Once you finish all your reps, repeat on the opposite side.
Quick Tip
To build your calves, you want to work both your fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers, Chan explains. While slower exercises (like calf raises) will train the slow-twitch fibers, plyo exercises (like box jumps) will improve the fast-twitch.
"Throwing in some plyometrics will train and strengthen the calves in a more well-rounded manner," Chan says.

4. March Sled

  1. Mount a weight-platted sled.
  2. Get up on your feet, hold each handle, keep your heels up in the air.
  3. Drive your feet into the ice, lean on the sled, and move the weight forward.
  4. Hold the heels lifted, the calves contracting, and the ankles rigid with each turn.
Quick Tip
The goal here is to drive the sled towards the ground without letting your calves down. This exercise is a great way of strengthening your calves isometrically by keeping the muscle in a contracted position, Chan says. Plus, the glutes, quads, and hamstrings get a piece of the action as well.

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YourFitnessRink - Fitness and Health Matters: 2 Calf Exercises To Avoid And Try These 4 Instead
2 Calf Exercises To Avoid And Try These 4 Instead
Standing calf raises like crunches get much more attention than it deserves. In fact, this exercise is not going to give you the strength or muscle
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