Elite Exercise Execution (Part 2)

March 1, 2010 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

The Calf Raise

This is one exercise that I had no choice but to get good at. Being 6ft 2″ and 2/3’s of my body being all legs (probably not 2/3’s, but it certainly feels that way) it is a no brainer that I would struggle to build muscle mass on my lower legs. Nevertheless, I have been progressing and the changes in growth have been noticable. But this has only begun to happen from using the following techniques.

Performing The Exercise Properly

  • Find a standing calf raise machine
  • Get into position by holding the bar and placing the pads on your shoulders
  • When positioning your feet, make sure there is a good separation between your feet and your toes
  • Make sure your toes are pointing forward
  • Start with your heels low and as far down as you can get them
  • Keep your knees straight but not locked
  • Lift

The Mistake That You Will Not Make

Now, you want to avoid lowering your heels all the way down. By doing this you are stretching your calf muscles before they get a chance to contract, which will affect your ability to effectively build muscles on your calves. You will want to imagine that there is only flat ground below the area of your heel and lower your heel to flat ground level only.

You will want to keep your knees straight also, as mentioned above. If you start bending your knees then you will introduce your quads and butt muscles into the movement. This too will reduce the tension that you are building up in your calves.

Another thing to avoid is turning your toes in or out. This will only put unnecessary stress on your knees.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks

And now for my favorite part. Taking exercise to the next level.

Contract Your Butt

This will allow you to get a 1-2 inch raise above what you normally do, thus giving you a better and more effective calf workout.


I’ve mentioned this technique in a few exercises, such a the leg press. The idea here is isolate one leg and press it behind the remaining leg. Then carry on performing the calf raise. This will make the exercise that much harder to perform and in the long run will give you better results. This is especially good for hard-gainers, those with chicken leg syndrome or for those who are over 6ft in height, as all of those body types will have a hard time building muscles in their calves.

Work The Inside Of Your Calves

Set your feet wider apart and start rising up from the balls of your feet.

Workout The Outside Of Your Calves

Bring your feet in closer and rise up on the outer balls of your feet.

This has been working well for me so far, but if I do find any other tweaks that produce results, you will be the first to know.

See you in the comments.

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