Adjust the padded lever of the calf raise machine to fit your height.
Place your shoulders under the pads provided and position your toes facing forward (or using any of the two other positions described at the beginning of the chapter). The balls of your feet should be secured on top of the calf block with the heels extending off it. Push the lever up by extending your hips and knees until your torso is standing erect. The knees should be kept with a slight bend; never locked. Toes should be facing forward, outwards or inwards as described at the beginning of the chapter. This will be your starting position.
Raise your heels as you breathe out by extending your ankles as high as possible and flexing your calf. Ensure that the knee is kept stationary at all times. There should be no bending at any time. Hold the contracted position by a second before you start to go back down.
Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in by lowering your heels as you bend the ankles until calves are stretched.
Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
Caution: If you suffer from lower back problems, a better exercise is the calf press as during a standing calf raise the back has tosupport the weight being lifted. Also, maintain your back straight and stationary at all times. Rounding of the back can cause lower back injury.
Variations: There are several other ways to perform a standing calf raise. A barbell instead of a machine can be used instead as well as dumbbells, one leg or two legs at a time. Refer to the exercise descriptions of these movements below. A smith machine can be used for calf raises as well.
Seated Calf Raise
Sit on the machine and place your toes on the lower portion of the platform provided with the heels extending off. Choose the toe positioning of your choice (forward, in, or out) as per the beginning of this chapter.
Place your lower thighs under the lever pad, which will need to be adjusted according to the height of your thighs. Now place your hands on top of the lever pad in order to prevent it from slipping forward.
Lift the lever slightly by pushing your heels up and release the safety bar. This will be your starting position.
Slowly lower your heels by bending at the ankles until the calves are fully stretched. Inhale as you perform this movement.
Raise the heels by extending the ankles as high as possible as you contract the calves and breathe out. Hold the top contraction for a second.