Calf Strengthening Exercises

Hi, I'm Doctor Jo, a Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I hope you enjoy my video demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. Be safe. Have fun. And I hope you feel better soon.

Buy Calf WorksheetIf you have weak calf muscles, or gastrocnemius muscles, due to surgery or an injury (or if you just have chicken legs like me!), then these calf exercises should help make them stronger.

The first exercise is a heel raise off the ground. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, come up on your toes as high as you can. Try not to lean forward, but bring your body straight up and down. Push off as much as you can so your heel leaves the ground. If that is easy, then you can do one at a time. Again, try not to lean forward or pull yourself up. If you can't go up without using your arms, then you are not quite ready for one foot at a time.

If that gets pretty easy, then you can find a step to get a longer range of motion in your exercise. Put the balls of your feet on the edge of the step, but make sure you are not going to slip off. Drop your heels down as far as they will go without slipping off, and then push up as far as you can upwards. Go slow with this motion up and down for control. Again, try to go straight up and down. If you are leaning forward or pulling yourself up, you are not quite ready for the step. Once you master the control, you can go faster, but try not to use momentum, make your muscles do the work. If that becomes easy, then you can do this with one foot.

Finally, you can walk up on your toes for a dynamic movement exercise. Try to stay up on your toes the whole time you are walking. If you can't keep your heels off the ground, then you are not quite ready for it.


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