You know that numerous aspects go into being stable, such as a rewarding career, positive mental outlook and healthy relationships. Well, the same concept goes for your body. For example, the calf raise may appear to be a simple exercise that primarily involves your calves and feet; however, numerous muscle groups actually play a part in keeping your body stabilized while your calves get worked. Like your life, think of the sum of the whole rather than just the parts.
Warm up your body to increase the blood flow to your muscles by performing five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise, such as jogging or jumping rope. Perform a set each of pushups and body-weight squats to further prepare your muscles for calf raises.
Stand tall on an exercise step with your weight on the balls of your feet and your heels hanging off the edge. Place your hands on a wall or other sturdy object for stability if needed.
Engage your stomach muscles by pulling them in toward your spine. Slide your shoulder blades down your back to prevent any rounding or hunching. Isometrically contract your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and inner thighs to help your body remain stable during the exercise.
Lower your heels to the floor; your toes will slightly lift off the step. Maintain a slight bend in the knee. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips.
Press through the balls of your feet as you engage your calves and lift your heels, as high as possible. Contract the ankle muscles to help maintain stability. Press through the big toes to keep your feet and ankles straight.
Hold the lift for one count and then lower the heels to the starting position. Perform the next repetition right away. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Stretch for at least 15 minutes immediately following your workout. Include all of the muscles that helped you to stabilize during the calf raises, including your ankles, calves, thighs, glutes, core and back.
Stretch all of the muscles that were worked during your strength-training session for 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid bouncing while stretching; instead, hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds. Breathe deeply to increase the oxygen flow to your muscles; inhale through your nose for a count of three to five and exhale through your nose, as well, for the same duration.
- Increase the challenge by holding a dumbbell in each hand while performing calf raises. Choose a resistance level that allows you to complete eight to 12 repetitions with proper form.
- Consult with a doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Inform your physician of any chronic health conditions.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.