There are several different ways to perform calf raises with weightlifting equipment. By alternating the position of your feet when you do calf raises, you will work on different areas of your calves. This will help your lower leg muscles to have a more balanced appearance.
You will have to decide which piece of fitness equipment or weights to use when you want to perform calf raises. Many gyms and health clubs have both a standing and seated calf raise machine that you can try. You can also perform calf raises by holding a dumbbell in each hand and using an aerobics step. Before you attempt calf raises, stretch your lower legs which will help you prevent muscle strain.
Performing Seated Calf Raises
If the gym or health club where you workout has a seated calf raise machine, select a light weight to use at first. Sit down on the seat and slide your knees under the leg pads. Place the balls of your feet on the bar attachment located on the floor. Some calf machines have handles that you can use for your hands, otherwise rest them on top of the leg pads.
To begin the exercise, press up with both feet at the same time. This will lift the pads of the calf raise machine up. To complete the repetition, lower your feet back to the starting position. Try to do at least 10 repetitions for each set of your workout.
Performing Standing Calf Raises
If the gym has a standing calf raise machine you want to try, use a small amount of weight until you are able to perform the exercise with the proper technique. Step up onto the lower platform of the calf machine, then slide your shoulders under the pads located at the top of the machine. Place your hands on top of the pads for extra support during the movement. Adjust your footing until you are standing on the balls of your feet.
To begin the exercise, press up with both feet at the same time. Keep your upper body straight during the movement. To complete the repetition, lower your feet back to slightly past parallel, which will give your calf muscles a good stretch. Try to do at least 10 repetitions for each set.
If your gym does not have a standing calf machine, use a pair of dumbbells and an aerobics step instead to perform calf raises. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and place the front of your foot on the edge of the step. Stand up until you are on your toes, then lower yourself down to finish the repetition.
Increasing the Intensity
To increase the intensity and effectiveness of calf raises, change the angle of your feet for every set. Point your feet inward for the first set, outward for the second set and then straight ahead for the third set. You can also increase the intensity of calf raises by adding more weight for each exercise, or by doing more repetitions.