Standing One Leg Calf Raise With Dumbbell Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Dumbbell
  • Isolation
  • Push
  • Beginner
  • None
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Calves Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. The 1 leg calf raise holding a dumbbell is a great exercise for working the calves at home without machines. Set up by grasping a dumbbell in your right hand and standing on the edge of a calf raise block or step with the balls of your feet on the edge.
  2. Take your right leg and hook it behind your left.
  3. Let your left heel drop as far as possible. This is the starting position.
  4. Keeping your body straight and eyes facing forwards, raise your left heel up as far as possible.
  5. Pause and squeeze the calf muscle, and then slowly lower your heal back down as far as possible.
  6. Repeat for desired reps, and then repeat on the right leg.

Exercise Tips:

  1. Always work your weakest side first. For most people this is the left.
  2. Use the maximum range of motion by pushing up as high as you can and letting your heel drop as far as possible.
  3. Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight on the way down.

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11 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 07/11/2017 - 13:15

I have really tight/sore calf muscles from running and weak ankles. Should I be doing these or working more on stretching them?

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 07/12/2017 - 09:17

Hi Krista,

If they're tight from running, it's probably due to the muscles being overactive (as well as some of the antagonist muscle being underactive) and the repetitive nature that the act of running can be on the muscle. I'd suggest trying to foam roll the muscles of the calf and stretching them. Make it a regular part of your warm up and cool down if you aren't already. See how that works for you and if it doesn't alleviate the tightness, you may need to look into an alternative solution.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 11/12/2014 - 07:35

Should I keep the number of reps on my strongest calf equal to the reps I can do with my weaker calf so development is equal?

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Posted Sun, 04/03/2016 - 20:08
Emma ferracane

Yes. Always work both sides equally so not to create an imbalance. Start by catering to the weaker side and gradually increase the weight or the intensity or both.

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Posted Wed, 05/07/2014 - 06:34

Does it matter if i dont have anything put my foot on - only the bare floor?

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Posted Sat, 10/20/2012 - 20:06

Is there another exercise you can do to strengthen your calves instead of this exercise?

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Posted Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:22

Probably standing on the bare ground is the modified version

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Posted Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:48

When your doing this exercise and your instructed to do 3 sets (10-20 reps), does that mean 3 sets per Calf...or does that mean 3 sets spread over the two legs?

Workout program:

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Posted Thu, 09/20/2012 - 07:29

yeah 3 sets each calf

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Posted Thu, 06/21/2012 - 18:29
Vin Carrillo

Probably won't matter. I simply turn around using the same technique in the video.

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Posted Wed, 05/02/2012 - 01:39
Michael Stankiewicz

You mention that you place the dumbbell in your right hand, but when working the left leg should you have the dumbbell in your left hand? Or does the hand the weight is in not matter?