Kettlebell Calf Raises

Kettlebell calf raises can be a great addition to your kettlebell workouts. They’re not too dissimilar to traditional barbell and machine calf raises, but since the weights will be landing from a different angle, they’ll challenge your calf muscles in a slightly different way, and therefore encourage additional growth where you haven’t filled that potential.

As with all calf raises, there are a few different versions for you to experiment with and the main concern is how much you stretch on the negative side of the movement that you want.

An athlete will find that they can lift much more weight when performing standing calf raises directly from the floor. In this movement there is no stretch on the bottom of the movement as the foot moves from flat on the floor to standing on the balls of the toes, allowing the calf to contract before flattening again, allowing the calf muscle to relax.

The other version of the classic standing calf raise is to use some type of platform. The most common platform to perform this move would be simply a block of wood. The athlete is then required to stand with their toes on the end of the block with their heels dangling. The athlete is then required to drive up to a position where their weight rests on the balls of their feet, allowing for maximum contraction of the calf muscles before reversing the movement so that the heel is below the flat footed position and the calf muscle is stretched. At the bottom of the movement it is very important not to allow the calf to bounce as this can injure the Achilles tendon. Explode out of the negative back into the tiptoe position.

To use kettlebells for standing calf raises, there are two ways to support the weight, both of which will challenge your calves in different ways.

The first and simplest method is to simply hold a kettlebell in each hand and let it hang by the sides of your body. This way of holding kettlebells tends to put more stress on the outside of the calves, which can create the fuller appearance of the calves from the athlete’s rear view.

The other, and more difficult, way to perform the kettlebell calf raise is to clean the kettlebells up to the racked position. Once in the translation position is when you would step onto the platform if you are performing this type of calf raise. Performing kettlebell calf raises from this position is much more difficult, and due to the advanced center of gravity that the kettlebell places on your calf muscles, balance can be much more difficult. It would be advisable to try calf raises on the floor first if you want to perform calf raises from the rack position. Once you can master the rack position kettlebell calf raises, you will challenge your calves with the stability of the movement and much of the focus of the weight will shift to the inner calf, helping to create the diamond shape of a well-developed calf muscle.

Again, this is just one of the many ways that kettlebell exercises can provide the necessary boost for your workouts to encourage even more muscle growth and definition.

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