Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePush
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Calves Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Standing One-Leg Calf Raise With Dumbbell Instructions

The one-leg calf raise holding a dumbbell is a great exercise for working the calves at home without machines.

  1. 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 heel back down as far as possible.
  6. Repeat for desired reps, and then repeat on the right leg.

Standing One-Leg Calf Raise With Dumbbell Tips

  • Always work your weakest side first. For most people, this is the left.
  • Use the maximum range of motion by pushing up as high as you can and letting your heel drop as far as possible.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight on the way down.
Posted on: Tue, 11/13/2018 - 08:11

The weight goes in which hand to work which leg? Is it Right hand weitghted to right calf workout?

Posted on: Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:06

Is this OK for people with pretty flat feet? I'm having an extremely hard time getting my balance right when dropping the heel. It barely moves down at all, and if I move my foot back to give it more room to drop, I just fall backwards. When I do try the exercise this way, I don't really feel anything in my calves.


Posted on: Tue, 10/17/2017 - 20:32

F***, I can't walk.

Posted on: 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?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: 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!

Posted on: 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?

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Probably standing on the bare ground is the modified version

Posted on: 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: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/dumbbell-only-home-or-gym-ful...

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

yeah 3 sets each calf

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

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

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

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?

Sean McClain
Posted on: Mon, 10/22/2018 - 06:06

I have the same question. The text says to hold weight in the right hand when exercising the left calf. The video shows the weight on the same side that's being exercised. Which is correct? I suspect the video is correct.

Posted on: Wed, 04/22/2020 - 12:54

It shouldn't really matter due to the fact that your only contact with the ground is the side you are working on.