Calf Exercises for Strengthening – Ask Doctor Jo

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Calf strengthening exercises can help make your calves stronger if you have weak calf muscles, or gastrocnemius muscles, due to surgery or an injury. These exercises are also great for runners or for people who have chicken legs! For a detailed blog post about this video, visit

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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Doctor Jo is a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Calf Exercises for Strengthening after an Injury:

DISCLAIMER: This video and any related comments are not medical advice. Check with your own healthcare professional before attempting anything in this video. This information is only intended to show you the correct technique for physical therapy exercises and should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any medical condition. If you experience any pain or difficulty while doing these exercises, stop immediately and see your healthcare professional.


AskDoctorJo says:

Buy a printable worksheet with these Calf Exercises here:
⭐⭐ Leaving a Question or Comment? ⭐⭐ Hit the 🔴 SUBSCRIBE 🔴 button above first (if you haven’t already), and make sure you mention you’ve subscribed because I like to respond to my subscribers if I can!

Lee Turnbull says:

Thanks Jo. Always very informative. You haven't got chicken legs there lover lay 😜

Becky Boom123 says:

I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Rhumatoid Arthritis. I also have Depression. I have stopped walking for about 2 months. The back of my calves have severe spasms when I try to walk now 😔 I can't even walk a block anymore. Doing this killed the top of my foot the most. It was a good burn tho. Thank you!

the_dreidreamer says:

I got my leg cast off 2 weeks ago (dislocated and fractured patella) and my calf is as thin as the first day :/

Sharon Mitchel says:

I want to purchase this step stool, but don’t see an affiliate link. Is this the cosco step stool?

MASTER Tips - All in One says:

Good… Information…. Thank you…

faiz khan says:

Can i do this exercise in acl tear exercise

Slim Hanson says:

Ok,whats with the Banjo Dr Jo?

Yogesh Rao says:

Dr.Jo, I am a runner and struggle with calf pain on and off. I also am unable to do these stretching and strengthening exercises every day. How often would you recommend that I run and stretch/strengthen?

Muhammad Mudassar says:

hey madam. madam what are the impacts of these exercises on knees

Meri Jaan says:

at resting there's no pain in my soleus muscle near ankle
but as I start running practices it arises again…
do can u plz tell me the cure for this

Nana Silvas says:

Thank you just an update your stretches have helped me just need to get the feel of walking normal again if that makes sense… I've been so use to limping that it still scares me to walk normal.. but I'm better than yesterday

Nana Silvas says:

I know your stretches would help because I would look at other videos that are from you and they were really helpful… I have a lot of faith that these bruises will go away…

Nana Silvas says:

Okay I will start doing that… can you please tell me how I can get rid of this horrible bruise on my leg? Any advice on that.

Nana Silvas says:

The emergency was like last week!

Nana Silvas says:

I want to say more than 2 weeks!:/ now

Nana Silvas says:

No ma'am but I did go to the emergency and an assistant that works with the doctor told me I tore something in my calf…the day of the game I was on 1st base and right when I was about to run I felt like a sharp rock was thrown at my leg

Nana Silvas says:

Hi Dr. Jo I need some advice I play kickball but I recently injured myself… long story short I tore a muscle somewhere in my calf it's purple and it's bruised..i ice it and wrap it I also puT icy hot and i really want to strengthen it..can you please give me advice on this I really am tired of this lol!!:/

SKirker says:

Can you do calf raises on both toes every day? In early stages of rehab after non weight bearing? Or should I put a day or two in between?

Jake Hesson says:

How long should we walk for?

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