I Did 100 Calf Raises A Day For A Week – Here’s What Happened

I don’t know about you, but I often forget to train my calves. Until now, they weren’t something that worried me too much when doing squats, lunges, and deadlifts. That said, a recent conversation with a running coach made me stop and think about my calf strength – your calf muscles absorb the impact when you run or walk and propel you forward. They’re a staple when it comes to lower body strength, so why did I overlook them?

Never afraid of a challenge, I decided to add 100 calf raises a day to my routine for a week to see what happened. As a marathon runner, my schedule includes about five runs a week, plus a few weight training sessions, and a few Pilates or yoga classes thrown in for good measure.

Before you dive into calf raises, it’s important to note that what works for me may not work for you and your body, and if you’re a complete beginner or returning to exercise following an injury, it’s It’s a good idea to check in with a personal trainer to make sure you’re getting your form right.

Read on to find out what happened when I did 100 calf raises a day for a week. Inspired? Find out what happened when I did 100 dead insects per day for a week, 30 sit-ups a day for 30 daysand when I added floating kicks to my morning routine.

How to do calf raises

Let’s start with the right technique. To do a calf raise, start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the movement (here how to engage your abdominal muscles). Rise slowly on your tiptoes, keeping your legs straight, without locking the knee joint. Pause at the top, then drop back down to the floor, returning to your starting position.

an illustration of a woman doing calf raises

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The benefits of calf raises are that they hit both calf muscles. Your calf has two main muscles – the soleus, which is the deeper calf muscle that starts just below your knee and runs down your leg, connecting to the Achilles tendon above the heel, and the gastrocnemius , which is the outer muscle that forms your calf mass. Strengthening the calf muscles is important when it comes to injury prevention, as calf muscle strains are a common injury in athletes. When the soleus is weak, for example, studies (opens in a new tab)showed that the calf muscle can stretch and tear more easily.

I Did 100 Calf Raises A Day For A Week – Here’s What Happened

On the first day of this challenge, I started with regular bodyweight calf raises. I opted for four sets of 25 raises, with 30 seconds of rest between each set. I did the post-race raises without shoes and was slow enough to really focus on my form. My challenge was to think about my posture – keeping your back straight and abs engaged is essential in this exercise.

On day two, I added calves to my strength training routine – because it was leg day, after all. This time I added some weights to the mix to up the ante a bit. I grabbed a set of 6kg dumbbells, and again did four sets of 25 calf raises. It definitely increased the challenge, and after the first 25 raises I could feel my calf muscles working. Again, I had to focus on slowing down – although doing the exercise quickly can be tempting, it makes it much less effective.

On the third day, I chose to increase the range of motion in the calves by performing them on a step. Once again I finished my run and stood at the bottom of my stairs to do the calf raises – this allows your heels to drop further, increasing the intensity. With just the balls of my feet on the stairs, I definitely felt a bigger stretch in my calves as I moved through the reps.

On day four, you guessed it, I added weights to my calf raises at the bottom of the stairs. This definitely felt a bit sketchy to me, since I don’t live in a massive house with a big open staircase, and in the future I’ll be doing weighted elevated calf raises on a step in the gym. Still, I did them, lived to tell the tale, and didn’t fall down the stairs or smash a dumbbell into the wall. Results.

By day five, my calves were feeling it, so I went back to regular bodyweight calf raises. Doing huge repetitions of the same exercise day after day is definitely not recommended (here’s why experts say you shouldn’t do a squat challenge) but for the sake of journalism, I continued.

On day six, I again decided to mix things up again, this time choosing to do my calves on the gym leg press. To do this, I placed the soles of my feet on the platform with my legs straight and pushed up on my tiptoes, as I would in a standing calf raise. Doing calf raises on a leg press is a good way to increase the load, without worrying about your balance.

Finally, the seventh day. By this time, I had had enough of calves, but wanted to try another challenge – single leg calves. I haven’t added them to my workouts since I got injured years ago, and I hated them as much now as I did then. As the name suggests, do a calf raise on one leg, stand on one leg, and raise on the ball of one foot. I chose to do 100s on each leg, but found I had to do them near a wall, as I was much more balanced on my right leg (I’m right-handed).

So what did I learn after 800 calf raises? I need to do more calves. Of course, I’m not going to see huge gains in a week – the human body doesn’t work like that, but I can definitely see how adding calf exercises to my workouts could help. to run faster and (hopefully) avoid lower leg problems that could prevent me from starting.

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