Want bigger calves? If so, you should be doing Donkey Calf Raises.
The Donkey Calf Raise is one of the best exercises you can do for developing your calves. It puts maximum stretch on the calves under load (more so than standing or seated calf raises because of your body position).
However, for most people, having the equipment or setup to perform the exercise is the real issue. For example, not a lot of gyms have a donkey calf machine…and the other option of having somebody riding you like a donkey is not always appealing.
This setup does require some specialized equipment in the form of a safety squat bar, but if you DO have one, the exercise itself can be even more effective than a machine built specifically for that purpose.
In addition to the bar, you’ll also need a rack, a calf block and a bench (and weight, of course).
In addition to loading the actual movement very effectively, because the bar moves freely, the calves also need to work to stabilize your body and the load, making the exercise even better. If the bar starts to sway too much, just set it back down on the rails, reset and continue.
Hold the bottom stretch for at least 2 seconds, then come up and hold the top for 2 seconds. We don’t want any momentum coming into play with calf raises.
In looking at the pictures, I should have kept my knees straighter during the movement (I can admit to that :).
But the setup and effectiveness of the exercise is definitely there.
If you’ve got a safety squat bar and want to do some very effective calf work, this is a setup you will absolutely want to test out.
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