Dumbbell Calf Raise on One Leg

Dumbbell Calf Raise on One Leg

In this lesson you will learn how to do one-legged dumbbell calf raises. In my opinion this is one of the most effective calf exercises and trains one calf muscle at a time. If you don't have any weight training equipment, you can also do this without dumbbell or with a bag of sand. Find more exercises for your leg muscles at weight training main. Train your calf muscles with one-legged dumbbell calf raises as follows.


  • Stand with the ball of your left foot on a box or a stair and hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Support yourself with the other hand and put the right instep behind your left heel. If you are training your right calf muscle, hold the dumbbell in your right hand and support yourself with the left hand. Keep your upper body straight and the dumbbell close to your thigh. Start with the heel below box height, so that the calf is slightly stretched. Don't relax your ankle too much. The weight should not rest on the joint. The dumbbell calf raise is usually done on a plate or a box, but doing this exercise on a flat ground is ok too.
  • Extend your ankle until your calf muscle is fully contracted and exhale at the same time. Keep your knee still and don't move the dumbbell. Make sure you don't pull yourself up with the other hand. The right foot rests behind the left heel. Hold the highest position for a short moment.
  • Then lower your heel again and go back to the beginning position. At the lowest point of the movement the calf muscle is stretched again. Inhale as you move down. The down-motion should be slightly slower than the up-motion. Don't bounce up and down.


  • Move slowly and concentrated. Don't create momentum. Don't help pull yourself up with the other hand.
  • The dumbbell calf raise is not designed for heavy weights. I usually do 25 to 33 repetitions with a 20kg dumbbell.
  • Keep your knees straight throughout the entire exercise.
  • Rest and stretch your calf muscles between sets and exercises.