The 25 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. Barbell Seated Calf Raise

    Photo of Barbell Seated Calf Raise being performed
    70,672 SETS LOGGED
    100 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.

  2. 2. Standing Machine Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Machine Calf Raise being performed
    216,852 SETS LOGGED
    99.6 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
  3. 3. Calf Press

    Photo of Calf Press being performed
    1,006,254 SETS LOGGED
    99.1 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
  4. 4. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise being performed
    308,758 SETS LOGGED
    98.7 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.

  5. 5. Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise

    Photo of Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise being performed
    152,280 SETS LOGGED
    98.2 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.

  6. 6. Standing Barbell Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Barbell Calf Raise being performed
    745,666 SETS LOGGED
    97.8 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.

  7. 7. Smith Machine Calf Raise

    Photo of Smith Machine Calf Raise being performed
    371,996 SETS LOGGED
    97.3 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
  8. 8. Seated Machine Calf Press

    Photo of Seated Machine Calf Press being performed
    1,144,803 SETS LOGGED
    96.9 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
  9. 9. Standing Machine Calf Press

    Photo of Standing Machine Calf Press being performed
    468,700 SETS LOGGED
    96.4 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 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
  10. 10. Single Leg Standing Calf Raise

    Photo of Single Leg Standing Calf Raise being performed
    180,449 SETS LOGGED
    94.6 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

11 - 25

  1. 11. Calf Raise

    Photo of Calf Raise being performed
    1,236,099 SETS LOGGED
    94.2 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
  2. 12. Balance Trainer Front-Back Cross Jumps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Front-Back Cross Jumps being performed
    5,769 SETS LOGGED
    61.4 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.

  3. 13. Calf Raise to Shrug

    Photo of Calf Raise to Shrug being performed
    8,583 SETS LOGGED
    54.7 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.

  4. 14. Dumbbell Calf Raise to High Pull

    Photo of Dumbbell Calf Raise to High Pull being performed
    14,379 SETS LOGGED
    53.4 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.

  5. 15. TRX Calf Raise

    Photo of TRX Calf Raise being performed
    40,928 SETS LOGGED
    52.9 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.

  6. 16. Seated Dumbbell One-Leg Calf Raise

    Photo of Seated Dumbbell One-Leg Calf Raise being performed
    75,032 SETS LOGGED
    51.6 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.

  7. 17. Standing Kettlebell Calf Raise

    Photo of Standing Kettlebell Calf Raise being performed
    53,054 SETS LOGGED
    51.1 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.

  8. 18. Balance Trainer Lateral Floor Toe Taps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Lateral Floor Toe Taps being performed
    6,562 SETS LOGGED
    45.7 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.

  9. 19. Balance Trainer Lateral Cross Over Jumps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Lateral Cross Over Jumps being performed
    4,081 SETS LOGGED
    29.1 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. 20. Balance Trainer Toe Taps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Toe Taps being performed
    19,798 SETS LOGGED
    28.3 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.

  11. 21. Kettlebell Toe Walks

    Photo of Kettlebell Toe Walks being performed
    5,980 SETS LOGGED
    23.8 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.

  12. 22. Balance Trainer Lateral Jumps

    Photo of Balance Trainer Lateral Jumps being performed
    3,455 SETS LOGGED
    22.9 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.

  13. 23. Dumbbell Calf Raise to Shrug

    Photo of Dumbbell Calf Raise to Shrug being performed
    18,796 SETS LOGGED
    6.7 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.

  14. 24. Dumbbell Toe Walks

    Photo of Dumbbell Toe Walks being performed
    25,021 SETS LOGGED
    4.9 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.

  15. 25. Smith Machine Reverse Calf Raises

    Photo of Smith Machine Reverse Calf Raises being performed
    23,863 SETS LOGGED
    0.4 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