Calf Strengthening Exercises
Exercises > Strengthening (Muscles) > Calf Strengthening Exercises
The following calf strengthening exercises are designed to improve strength of the calf muscles (figure 1). You should discuss the suitability of these calf exercises with your physiotherapist prior to beginning them. Generally, they should only be performed provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Figure 1 – Calf Anatomy
Begin with the basic calf strengthening exercise. Once this is too easy, progress to the intermediate calf strengthening exercises and eventually the advanced calf exercises.
Calf Strengthening – Basic Calf Exercise
To begin with, the following basic calf strengthening exercise should be performed approximately 10 times, 3 times daily. As your calf strength improves, the exercise can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions and resistance provided it does not cause or increase pain.
Resistance Band Calf Strengthening
Begin this calf strengthening exercise with a resistance band around your foot as demonstrated and your foot and ankle held up towards your head (figure 2). Slowly move your foot and ankle down against the resistance band as far as possible and comfortable without pain, tightening your calf muscle. Slowly return back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times on each side provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 2 – Resistance Band Calf Strengthening (left calf)
Calf Strengthening – Intermediate Calf Exercises
The following intermediate calf strengthening exercises should generally be performed 1 – 3 times per week provided they do not cause or increase pain. Ideally they should not be performed on consecutive days, to allow muscle recovery. As your calf strength improves, the calf exercises can be progressed by gradually increasing the repetitions and resistance provided they do not cause or increase pain.
Generally you should perform only 1 or 2 of the following calf exercises, provided they are pain free, beginning with Calf Raises (figure 3). Once this calf strengthening exercise is too easy, progress to the next exercise Calf Raises Over Step (figure 4) and so on.
Begin this calf strengthening exercise standing at a bench or chair for balance. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and facing forwards (figure 3). Slowly move up onto your toes, raising your heels as far as possible and comfortable without pain, tightening your calf muscles. Then slowly lower back down. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 3 – Calf Raises
Calf Raises Over Step
Begin this calf strengthening exercise standing with your heels dropped below the level of a step as demonstrated (figure 4). Ensure you have something to hold onto for balance. Slowly move up onto your toes, raising your heels as far as possible and comfortable without pain, tightening your calf muscles. Then slowly lower back down. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions provided the exercise is pain free.
Figure 4 –Calf Raises Over Step
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Other Calf Exercises
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