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  1. #1
    Registered User RapidFail's Avatar
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    Calf raise difficulties

    As I work out at home and don't have a machine to do calf raises, instead of being one of the easiest-to-perform exercises, it is quite challenging. This is the way I perform them at present:

    I have a small plastic stool which I place against the bottom of a brick wall. I pick up a heavy (up to 25kg so far) dumbbell in one hand, then climb onto the stool, keeping a slight bend in my elbow. With the other hand, I grip one of the bricks on the wall as tightly as possible to prevent me from falling backwards. I then perform 15 calf raises per set. For my calves it is no where near enough weight and I find it very easy, but by the end of the set, I am struggling to maintain my grip on the dumbbell and my arm is feeling like it has worked hard. I'm less concerned about how much work my arm/grip is doing holding the dumbbell and more concerned at my lack of ability to add weight to this exercise.

    Can anyone think of a more practical way for me to perform this exercise? If I use my barbell or two dumbbells, I simply fall backwards off the stool. If I move the stool away from the wall, it flips over when I perform the exercise.
    Current working weights

    DB Bench: 8 x 18KG (40lb)
    Squat: 10 x 30KG (66lb)
    Romanian DL: 10 x 30KG (66lb)
    Pendlays: 8 x 25KG (55lb)
    OHP: 8 x 17KG (37lb)
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  2. #2
    Registered User AntoineIbanez12's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    As I work out at home and don't have a machine to do calf raises, instead of being one of the easiest-to-perform exercises, it is quite challenging. This is the way I perform them at present:

    I have a small plastic stool which I place against the bottom of a brick wall. I pick up a heavy (up to 25kg so far) dumbbell in one hand, then climb onto the stool, keeping a slight bend in my elbow. With the other hand, I grip one of the bricks on the wall as tightly as possible to prevent me from falling backwards. I then perform 15 calf raises per set. For my calves it is no where near enough weight and I find it very easy, but by the end of the set, I am struggling to maintain my grip on the dumbbell and my arm is feeling like it has worked hard. I'm less concerned about how much work my arm/grip is doing holding the dumbbell and more concerned at my lack of ability to add weight to this exercise.

    Can anyone think of a more practical way for me to perform this exercise? If I use my barbell or two dumbbells, I simply fall backwards off the stool. If I move the stool away from the wall, it flips over when I perform the exercise.
    I would recommend going to the gym. But maybe you don't need the eleveated platform (stool), you could try calf raises on ground level and stop the movement just above the ground or when you heels touch the ground slightly, that way you would still keep the tension going. As for arm fatigue, holding the dumbbell in both hands would reduce arm fatigue but make balance difficult without holding on to anything... Maybe you have a large backpack you can pack with weights?
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  3. #3
    Registered User RapidFail's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AntoineIbanez12 View Post
    I would recommend going to the gym. But maybe you don't need the eleveated platform (stool), you could try calf raises on ground level and stop the movement just above the ground or when you heels touch the ground slightly, that way you would still keep the tension going. As for arm fatigue, holding the dumbbell in both hands would reduce arm fatigue but make balance difficult without holding on to anything... Maybe you have a large backpack you can pack with weights?
    Thank you for your reply. Going to the gym isn't a good option for me at this point in my life (demanding job, wife and 2 kids at home). I have been seeing better results since I started working out at home because I have been able to stay consistent with it, while I missed to many sessions from not finding the time to go to the gym. I have considered standing on the ground, but assumed the decreased range of movement would make the exercise less worthwhile. The backpack is an interesting idea - I might give that a try!
    Current working weights

    DB Bench: 8 x 18KG (40lb)
    Squat: 10 x 30KG (66lb)
    Romanian DL: 10 x 30KG (66lb)
    Pendlays: 8 x 25KG (55lb)
    OHP: 8 x 17KG (37lb)
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  4. #4
    Registered User AntoineIbanez12's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    Thank you for your reply. Going to the gym isn't a good option for me at this point in my life (demanding job, wife and 2 kids at home). I have been seeing better results since I started working out at home because I have been able to stay consistent with it, while I missed to many sessions from not finding the time to go to the gym. I have considered standing on the ground, but assumed the decreased range of movement would make the exercise less worthwhile. The backpack is an interesting idea - I might give that a try!
    Well since you have kids, take one (or both) onto your shoulders and there you have your weight lol... yeah ideally your range of motion should go until slightly past floor-parallel. But you could try supersets, or simply higher/slower reps and focusing on the squeeeze.

    Edit: maybe grab a dumbbell in each hand, put your back against a wall and try that way, might solve the balance issue?
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  5. #5
    Registered User RapidFail's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AntoineIbanez12 View Post
    Well since you have kids, take one (or both) onto your shoulders and there you have your weight lol... yeah ideally your range of motion should go until slightly past floor-parallel. But you could try supersets, or simply higher/slower reps and focusing on the squeeeze.

    Edit: maybe grab a dumbbell in each hand, put your back against a wall and try that way, might solve the balance issue?
    Haha, funny you mention it - I was using my 3yo (17kg/37lb) daughter as a weight for my chin-ups and pull-ups earlier today! The other one is a baby - not heavy enough to use as a weight yet!
    Current working weights

    DB Bench: 8 x 18KG (40lb)
    Squat: 10 x 30KG (66lb)
    Romanian DL: 10 x 30KG (66lb)
    Pendlays: 8 x 25KG (55lb)
    OHP: 8 x 17KG (37lb)
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    Buy a $20 weight belt and strap the DB or plates onto it?
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