The 42 Best Calves Exercises

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Ranked based on how effective each exercise is in building muscle strength. Learn More

Top 10

  1. 1. Calf Press

    Photo of Calf Press being performed
    1,072,256 SETS LOGGED97.4 mSCORE

    This exercise is a variation on the more common calf raise. Like the standard calf raise this isolation exercise primarily targets the calves. The use of a machine adds stability to the movement, as well as gives you more control over your resistance. It’s an effective exercise for building muscle mass and developing strength in your calves.

    • Beginner
    • Leg Press
  2. 2. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise being performed
    339,792 SETS LOGGED96.1 mSCORE

    Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise is a weighted variation on the more standard Calf Raise. Like other variations, this is an isolation exercise that primarily targets your calves. Adding dumbbells allows you to add significantly more resistance than simply relying on bodyweight.

  3. 3. Seated Machine Calf Press

    Photo of Seated Machine Calf Press being performed
    1,211,107 SETS LOGGED95.6 mSCORE

    This exercise is a variation on the more common calf raise. Like the standard calf raise this isolation exercise primarily targets the calves. The use of a machine adds stability to the movement, as well as gives you more control over your resistance. It’s an effective exercise for building muscle mass and developing strength in your calves.

    • Beginner
    • Calf Raise Machine
  4. 4. Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise

    Photo of Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise being performed
    168,197 SETS LOGGED95.2 mSCORE

    Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise is a variation on the more standard Calf Raise. By performing this exercise from a seated position, you add significantly more stability to the movement. This allows you to focus on exertion rather than stability. By using a dumbbell on each leg, you ensure that you aren’t compensating for any lack of strength between sides.

  5. 5. Standing Barbell Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Barbell Calf Raise being performed
    779,704 SETS LOGGED94.7 mSCORE

    This exercise is a barbell variation of the standard calf raise. Like the standard variation, this exercise primarily targets your calves. The use of a barbell allows you to increase the resistance for this exercise beyond just your bodyweight.

  6. 6. Standing Kettlebell Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Kettlebell Calf Raise being performed
    58,792 SETS LOGGED93.9 mSCORE

    This exercise is a weighted variation of the more standard calf raise. Like the standard calf raise, this exercise primarily targets your calves. The use of a raised surface allows for greater range of motion which leads to better muscle activation. This is a great exercise for developing muscle mass and strength in your calves.

  7. 7. Seated Dumbbell One-Leg Calf Raise

    Photo of Seated Dumbbell One-Leg Calf Raise being performed
    83,112 SETS LOGGED93.4 mSCORE

    Seated Dumbbell One Leg Calf Raise is a variation on the more standard Calf Raise. Like other variations, this is an isolation exercise that primarily targets your calves. By performing this exercise while seated, you add more stability to the exercise, and can focus on performing the exercise rather than balancing and stabilizing yourself in a standing position. By performing the exercise one leg at a time, you can focus your attention on the specific leg performing the exercise, as well as give yourself some additional rest time while your opposite leg is working.

  8. 8. Barbell Seated Calf Raise

    Photo of Barbell Seated Calf Raise being performed
    77,911 SETS LOGGED93 mSCORE

    Barbell Seated Calf Raise is a variation on the more standard Calf Raise. Like other Calf Raises, this is an isolation exercise that targets your calves. By performing this exercise while seated, you add significantly more stability to the movement since you don’t need to worry about balancing to stay standing. This can help you focus more of your attention on exertion rather than stability.

  9. 9. Balance Trainer Front-Back Cross Jumps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Front-Back Cross Jumps being performed
    6,004 SETS LOGGED92.5 mSCORE

    A explosive plyometric exercise using a balance trainer to enhance balance and agility. This exercise primarily targets the muscles in your lower body. Landing on the balance trainer adds a significant amount of instability to the movement which can help recruit smaller stabilizing muscles as well.

  10. 10. Calf Raise

    Photo of Calf Raise being performed
    1,291,701 SETS LOGGED92.1 mSCORE

    This bodyweight isolation exercise primarily targets the calves. It’s an effective exercise for developing muscle mass and increasing strength in your calf, and can be easily modified through a number of different variations.

    • Beginner

11 - 42

  1. 11. Smith Machine Calf Raise

    Photo of Smith Machine Calf Raise being performed
    391,348 SETS LOGGED91.7 mSCORE

    This exercise is a Smith Machine variation of the standard calf raise. Like the standard version, this exercise primarily targets the calves. The use of a Smith Machine allows to increase resistance beyond just your bodyweight.

    • Beginner
    • Smith Machine
  2. 12. Standing Machine Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Machine Calf Raise being performed
    229,667 SETS LOGGED91.2 mSCORE

    This exercise is a variation on the more common calf raise. Like the standard calf raise this isolation exercise primarily targets the calves. The use of a machine adds stability to the movement, as well as gives you more control over your resistance. It’s an effective exercise for building muscle mass and developing strength in your calves.

    • Beginner
    • Calf Raise Machine
  3. 13. Balance Trainer Lateral Floor Toe Taps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Lateral Floor Toe Taps being performed
    6,834 SETS LOGGED90.8 mSCORE

    This exercise is an explosive plyometric movement. By positioning one leg on the Balance Trainer, you add some instability to that leg in addition to giving yourself a softer surface to push off from. This is a great exercise for improving explosiveness and coordination.

  4. 14. Balance Trainer Lateral Cross Over Jumps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Lateral Cross Over Jumps being performed
    4,219 SETS LOGGED90.4 mSCORE

    A explosive plyometric exercise using a balance trainer to enhance balance and agility. This exercise primarily targets the muscles in your lower body. Landing on the balance trainer adds a significant amount of instability to the movement which can help recruit smaller stabilizing muscles as well.

  5. 15. Balance Trainer Toe Taps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Toe Taps being performed
    20,648 SETS LOGGED89.9 mSCORE

    This exercise is an explosive agility exercise that primarily targets your calves and quads. The balance trainer acts a guide for where to reach with your foot. This is a great exercise for improving quickness, agility and coordination.

  6. 16. Balance Trainer Lateral Jumps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Lateral Jumps being performed
    3,565 SETS LOGGED89.5 mSCORE

    A explosive plyometric exercise using a balance trainer to enhance balance and agility. This exercise primarily targets the muscles in your lower body. Landing on the balance trainer adds a significant amount of instability to the movement which can help recruit smaller stabilizing muscles as well.

  7. 17. Single Leg Standing Calf Raise

    Photo of Single Leg Standing Calf Raise being performed
    210,544 SETS LOGGED89 mSCORE

    This exercise is a unilateral variation of the standard calf raise. Like the standard version this exercise primarily targets your calves. However, by performing this exercise one leg at a time, you add instability to the movement which can better recruit smaller stabilizing muscles, as well as help you identify and address imbalances between sides.

    • Beginner
  8. 18. Standing Machine Calf Press

    Photo of Standing Machine Calf Press being performed
    497,989 SETS LOGGED88.6 mSCORE

    This exercise is a variation on the more common calf raise. Like the standard calf raise this isolation exercise primarily targets the calves. The use of a machine gives you more control over your resistance, allowing you to better control the weight you’re moving. It’s an effective exercise for building muscle mass and developing strength in your calves.

    • Intermediate
    • Calf Raise Machine
  9. 19. Foam Roll Calves

    Photo of Foam Roll Calves being performed
    267,936 SETS LOGGED87.3 mSCORE

    Foam Roll Calves is a self-myofascial release exercise that targets the calves. Using a foam roller, you apply pressure to the calf muscles by gently rolling back and forth. This exercise helps to relieve muscle tightness, improve flexibility, and promote blood flow. It's a great addition for anyone looking to enhance their recovery and reduce muscle soreness.

    • Beginner
    • Foam Roller
  10. 20. Seated Point And Flex

    Photo of Seated Point And Flex being performed
    18,159 SETS LOGGED86.4 mSCORE

    Seated Point and Flex is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the calves and lower legs. By positioning yourself on a bench or chair, you eliminate the need for balance, allowing you to focus on the movement. This is a great exercise for improving flexibility and strength in the calves, making it a beneficial addition to any lower body or flexibility routine.

    • Beginner
  11. 21. AC-Skips

    Photo of AC-Skips being performed
    6,720 SETS LOGGED86 mSCORE

    AC-Skips are a plyometric drill focused on enhancing your speed, coordination, and hip mobility. By performing skipping movements with an added emphasis on arm drive and knee lift, you effectively engage the hip flexors and lower body muscles. This exercise is excellent for athletes aiming to enhance their acceleration and running mechanics.

    • Intermediate
  12. 22. Ankle Circles

    Photo of Ankle Circles being performed
    27,379 SETS LOGGED85.1 mSCORE

    Ankle Circles are an isolation exercise that targets the ankles and lower legs. This exercise involves rotating the ankle in a circular motion, which can help improve ankle mobility and stability. It's a simple yet effective movement, great for warming up before lower body workouts or for anyone looking to enhance ankle flexibility and reduce the risk of injuries.

    • Beginner
  13. 23. Forward Line Hops

    Photo of Forward Line Hops being performed
    13,604 SETS LOGGED84.6 mSCORE

    Forward Line Hops are a plyometric exercise that primarily targets the calves and lower body muscles while improving coordination and agility. This bodyweight movement involves hopping forward over a line repeatedly, making it an excellent addition for athletes looking to enhance their quickness and explosive power. It’s a simple yet effective drill for developing speed and lower body endurance.

    • Beginner
  14. 24. Dumbbell Calf Raise to Shrug

    Photo of Dumbbell Calf Raise to Shrug being performed
    24,977 SETS LOGGED84.2 mSCORE

    A compound movement that targets the calves, traps, and shoulders. Starting with a calf raise to activate the lower leg muscles, you transition into a shrug to engage the upper traps. This exercise efficiently works both lower and upper body regions, improving posture and functional strength, ideal for those aiming for comprehensive muscle engagement in a single movement.

  15. 25. Kettlebell Toe Walks

    Photo of Kettlebell Toe Walks being performed
    6,672 SETS LOGGED83.8 mSCORE

    This exercise primarily targets your calves. By walking only on your toes, you force your calves to remain engaged and contracted for the duration of the exercise. This is an effective way to build function strength in your calves.

  16. 26. Prone Calf Stretch

    Photo of Prone Calf Stretch being performed
    198,245 SETS LOGGED83.3 mSCORE

    Prone Calf Stretch is an isolation stretch that targets the calf muscles. This stretch involves lying face down and pulling your toes towards your shin to elongate the calf. It's an excellent way to improve flexibility and relieve tension in the calf muscles. This is particularly beneficial post-workout to aid recovery and reduce muscle soreness.

    • Beginner
  17. 27. Forward 1-Foot Line Hop

    Photo of Forward 1-Foot Line Hop being performed
    9,501 SETS LOGGED82.9 mSCORE

    Forward 1-Foot Line Hop is a plyometric exercise that primarily targets the lower body, focusing on the calves, quads, and hamstrings. By hopping on one foot over a line, it improves balance, agility, and coordination. This exercise increases explosiveness and speed, making it beneficial for athletic performance. It’s also a great way to add variety to lower body workouts.

    • Intermediate
  18. 28. Lateral Line Hops

    Photo of Lateral Line Hops being performed
    13,497 SETS LOGGED82.5 mSCORE

    Lateral Line Hops is a plyometric, bodyweight exercise that primarily targets the lower body. This exercise involves hopping side to side over a line, which improves agility, speed, and coordination. The lateral movement pattern establishes a strong foundation for sports that require quick shifts in direction. By engaging multiple muscle groups, it also fosters cardiovascular conditioning.

    • Beginner
  19. 29. Dumbbell Calf Raise to High Pull

    Photo of Dumbbell Calf Raise to High Pull being performed
    17,422 SETS LOGGED82 mSCORE

    A compound exercise combining calf raises with a high pull movement. This exercise is often used to help improve or work towards performing Olympic lifts, specifically recruiting your calves into your high pull. It’s an effective exercise for developing strength and power.

  20. 30. AB-Skips

    Photo of AB-Skips being performed
    6,501 SETS LOGGED81.6 mSCORE

    AB-Skips are a fast-paced, plyometric exercise that primarily targets the lower body, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. This compound movement also engages the core for stability. The skipping motion with high knees mimics athletic sprinting drills, making it ideal for improving speed, coordination, and cardiovascular conditioning. This exercise is excellent for individuals aiming to boost their agility and running efficiency.

    • Intermediate
  21. 31. Dumbbell Toe Walks

    Photo of Dumbbell Toe Walks being performed
    27,405 SETS LOGGED81.1 mSCORE

    An exercise targeting the calves and enhancing lower leg stability. Holding dumbbells at your sides, you walk on your toes to engage the calf muscles. This movement improves balance, ankle stability, and strengthens the calves, making it beneficial for athletes and those looking to enhance lower body endurance.

  22. 32. Calf Raise to Shrug

    Photo of Calf Raise to Shrug being performed
    11,287 SETS LOGGED80.7 mSCORE

    This exercise combines a calf raise and a shrug. It’s often used as a way to work towards Olympic lifts, or improve certain aspects of those exercises. It’s an effective exercise for building explosiveness in both your calves and traps.

  23. 33. Smith Machine Reverse Calf Raises

    Photo of Smith Machine Reverse Calf Raises being performed
    25,196 SETS LOGGED79.8 mSCORE

    An isolation exercise focusing on the calf muscles, performed on a Smith Machine. By positioning yourself on a raised surface, you increase your range of motion. Increasing your range of motion will help improve calf strength, and build muscle mass.

    • Beginner
    • Smith Machine
  24. 34. B-Skips

    Photo of B-Skips being performed
    8,296 SETS LOGGED78.9 mSCORE

    B-Skips are a dynamic warm-up exercise that helps improve coordination, flexibility, and running mechanics. It primarily targets the hip flexors, quads, and calves. By lifting the leg higher and extending it forcefully forward in a skipping motion, this exercise mimics aspects of high-knee running and can enhance speed and agility, making it beneficial for athletes and runners.

    • Beginner
  25. 35. A-Skips

    Photo of A-Skips being performed
    14,899 SETS LOGGED77.2 mSCORE

    A-Skips are a plyometric exercise that primarily targets your lower body. This compound movement is great for improving speed, coordination, and agility. By driving your knees up and maintaining a rhythmic pattern, you also engage your core for stability. This is an excellent exercise for athletes looking to improve their sprinting form and explosive power.

    • Beginner
  26. 36. Lateral 1-Foot Line Hop

    Photo of Lateral 1-Foot Line Hop being performed
    10,851 SETS LOGGED76.8 mSCORE

    Lateral 1-Foot Line Hop is a plyometric exercise that primarily targets the lower body and improves lateral agility. By jumping side-to-side on one foot, it emphasizes the muscles in the calves, quads, and glutes. This exercise is great for enhancing balance, coordination, and explosive power, making it beneficial for athletes and anyone looking to improve their agility.

    • Intermediate
  27. 37. TRX Calf Raise

    Photo of TRX Calf Raise being performed
    42,579 SETS LOGGED72.8 mSCORE

    This exercise is a variation on the more standard calf raise. Like the standard calf raise, this exercise primarily targets the calves. However, using a TRX strap allows you to lean forward and increase your range of motion and improving muscle activation.

  28. 38. High Knee Grape Vine/Carioca

    Photo of High Knee Grape Vine/Carioca being performed
    2,489 SETS LOGGED69.7 mSCORE

    High Knee Grape Vine/Carioca is a dynamic movement that combines lateral footwork with high knee action. This compound exercise primarily targets your hip flexors, quads, and calves, while also improving coordination and agility. By crossing your feet over and under in a grapevine pattern and adding high knees, you enhance lower body endurance and improve lateral movement control, making it an effective drill for athletes.

    • Intermediate
  29. 39. Heel Press

    Photo of Heel Press being performed
    223,454 SETS LOGGED68.4 mSCORE

    Heel Press is an isolation exercise that primarily targets the glutes and hamstrings. This exercise involves extending your leg by pressing through your heel, which helps to better isolate the targeted muscles. The pressing action emphasizes muscle engagement and can help build strength and muscle mass in the glutes. It's a great addition for anyone looking to improve their lower body workouts with a focus on glute activation.

    • Beginner
  30. 40. Deficit Calf Stretch

    Photo of Deficit Calf Stretch being performed
    6,195 SETS LOGGED64.5 mSCORE

    Deficit Calf Stretch is an isolation exercise that targets the calves. By placing your toes on an elevated surface and your heels lower, you increase the stretch on the calf muscles, improving flexibility and range of motion. This is especially beneficial for individuals with tight calves or those looking to improve their mobility for other lower body exercises.

    • Beginner
    • Platforms
  31. 41. ACB-Skips

    Photo of ACB-Skips being performed
    2,807 SETS LOGGED62.3 mSCORE

    ACB-Skips are a dynamic compound movement that combines elements of an A-skip with a focus on driving the knees high and emphasizing a strong arm swing. This exercise primarily targets the quadriceps, glutes, and calves while also engaging the core for stability. The added emphasis on coordination and rhythm makes this an excellent drill for improving running form, speed, and agility.

    • Advanced
  32. 42. Grape Vine/Carioca

    Photo of Grape Vine/Carioca being performed
    2,352 SETS LOGGED3.1 mSCORE

    Grape Vine/Carioca is a dynamic, agility exercise that primarily targets the lower body, specifically the hip abductors and adductors. This compound movement involves stepping side to side while crossing one leg in front of and then behind the other. It’s excellent for improving coordination, balance, and lateral movement skills, making it highly beneficial for athletes and those looking to enhance their mobility and agility.

    • Beginner