The right way to Do the Donkey Calf Increase

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Should you’re fed up with standing calf raises, it might be time to swap them out with one thing a bit of extra attention-grabbing: The donkey calf elevate.

Right here’s what it’s good to learn about this twist on the traditional standing calf elevate.

Donkey Calf Increase: Step-by-Step Directions

donkey calf raise | donkey calf raise

  • Place an cardio step or weight plate on the ground a few ft behind a railing or different sturdy, waist-high object.
  • Holding the railing with each palms, fold ahead at your hip joints, and place the balls of your ft on the far fringe of the step.
  • Slowly decrease your heels so far as doable towards the ground, pausing for a one-count within the stretched place.
  • Raise your heels as excessive as doable, squeezing your calves on the high of the transfer, and maintain for a one-count.
  • Take a full three-count to decrease your heels to the ground, and repeat.

Muscle groups Focused By the Donkey Calf Increase

calf muscles | donkey calf raise

The donkey calf elevate train targets the 2 main muscle groups of the calf: the gastrocnemius (or just gastroc) and the soleus.


The donkey calf elevate primarily hits the gastroc, says Jennifer Novak, MS, CSCS, efficiency restoration coach and founding father of PEAK Symmetry Efficiency Methods.

When well-developed, the gastroc is the outwardly seen muscle you see while you take a look at somebody’s calves.

It has two heads — a medial and a lateral — and crosses the knee joint, which implies it helps to bend the knee and flex the foot downward (often called plantarflexion), in accordance with Novak.

The gastroc can be roughly 50/50 slow-twitch versus fast-twitch muscle fibers, giving it a larger proportion of the latter than the soleus, and subsequently extra explosive capability.


The soleus, which is located underneath the gastroc, doesn’t cross the knee joint. So its operate is proscribed solely to serving to flex the foot downward (a.ok.a. plantarflexion).

And the place the gastroc’s composition is evenly break up between fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers, the soleus is majority slow-twitch muscle fiber, in accordance with Novak.

As such, the soleus helps extra with endurance-focused actions, like standing, strolling and jogging.

Advantages of the Donkey Calf Increase

Incorporating donkey calf raises into your power routine is an effective way to beef up your gastroc and soleus, which can increase your efficiency in different sports activities and actions: “We have to practice these muscle groups as a result of plantarflexion of the foot is a key part of gait and sport motion,” Novak says.

Having robust gastroc and soleus muscle groups can also assist your Achilles tendon, serving to this band of thick tissue do its job higher.

Your calf muscle groups unite to kind your Achilles tendon — the biggest tendon in your physique.

The Achilles tendon, in flip, connects your calf muscle groups to your heel bone, and gives the spring-like power it’s good to speed up, decelerate, and land safely throughout energy strikes.

“When the Achilles possesses a really perfect quantity of elasticity, it will possibly dissipate pressure utilized to the muscle groups, thereby probably reducing the chance of muscle damage, like a pressure or a tear,” Novak explains.


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