Calf Raises Exercise Guide

Reviewed by Valerie Zeller Valerie Zeller Printable version

Calf Raises is a bodyweight exercise that works your calves.

Calf Raises is a great basic move. When done correctly, it can effectively target your legs, lower body and lower legs.

It requires no equipment to do.

Calf Raises
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Legs Lower Body Lower Legs Calves
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Legs Lower Body Lower Legs Calves

How to do Calf Raises


Start in a standing position with your feet at hip width and your arms by your sides. Keep a straight back and good upright posture, looking straight ahead.

From here, contract your calf muscles, hamstrings and glutes so that you raise up on to your toes by lifting your heels up as high as you can. Pause at the top position briefly before lowering your heals back to the ground. Repeat this isolated movement focused on the calves for the required duration.


  • Be sure to squeeze the calves at the peak extension of the movement.

Illustrated Guide

Learn how to do calf raises from this step-by-step illustrations:

Calf Raises 1
Calf Raises 2

Muscles Worked

The muscles used for calf raises may change slightly based on the your trained range of motion and technique, but in the most general case, the muscles used for calf raises are:

Primary Muscles

  • Calves

Synergyst Muscles

Frequently Asked Questions

What muscles does Calf Raises work?
Calf Raises works calves.
What is Calf Raises good for?
Calf Raises is beneficial for conditioning and to strengthen. It works the best for legs, lower body and lower legs, as it works calves. Calf Raise is a great bodyweight exercise for men, men over 50, women and women over 50.
Is Calf Raise a good exercise?
Calf Raise is a popular bodyweight exercise for calves.

Training, Progressions and Regressions

Interested in how to improve your Calf Raises faster?

Calf Raises Training and Progressions

Standards and Averages

Wonder how do others perform in Calf Raises and how should you?

Calf Raises Standards and Averages


Wonder how to work the same muscles with other exercises?

Calf Raises Alternatives


Wonder how to make Calf Raises either easier or more challenging?

Calf Raises Variations

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Type(s) Bodyweight, Calisthenic, Strength, Isolated
Muscles Worked Gastrocnemius
Difficulty Level(s) Basic, Easy, Simple
Equipment No Equipment, Barbell
Location At Gym, At Home, Outdoor

Muscles Worked

Target muscle(s) Calves
Synergyst muscle(s)

Related exercises

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