How To: Single-Leg Calf Raise

Single-leg calf raises strengthen the ankles and several leg muscles. These calf raises also improve balance, which helps you avoid falls.

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For this exercise, you need one dumbbell. Start with a light weight until you become familiar with the exercise.

Start the calf raise by holding the dumbbell in your left hand. Stand on your right leg, and place the sole of your left foot against your right leg. Hold your body upright; try to avoid leaning backward or forward. With your right hand, hold onto a sturdy object for support.

Bend your right knee, keeping the knee in line with the foot. Bend the knee as far as you can while keeping the heel in contact with the floor. Slowly straighten the leg and then raise your right heel. As you rise up, keep the weight on the ball of your right foot. Pause briefly, then slowly lower to the start position. Complete 8 to 10 repetitions, then repeat the exercise on the left foot.

As you become stronger, rely less on your support hand to assist with balance. When you are comfortable with the exercise, gradually increase the weight load until you can do 8 to 10 repetitions using proper form. Once you can achieve 12 or more repetitions, increase the weight to bring you back to the 8-to-10-repetition target zone.

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