Bodyweight Exercises: Heel Raises

Bodyweight exercises are the simplest workouts to begin a new strengthening regimen. As the name implies, you use your own body weight to provide resistance as you exercise to strengthen your muscles. This means that you do not have to buy any expensive exercise equipment to get started getting fit.

How to Do Bodyweight Heel Raises

You do have the option of doing bodyweight heel raises bare footed. However, until you are comfortable with the exercise you should wear comfortable shoes. If you have a problem with weak ankles, you should always wear shoes. Until you have experience with this exercise, you should perform it with a table or chair nearby so that you can steady yourself.

  • Begin by standing behind a table or chair with your feet a few inches apart.
  • Lightly rest your hands on the surface in front of you.
  • Lift your heels until you are balancing on your toes and the balls of your feet. Hold for a count of five.
  • Lower your heels to the floor. This is considered one repetition.
  • Repeat 12 times. Work up to 3 sets of 12 repetitions.

The Benefits

Calf muscles are often overlooked in many people’s weight training routines. People often focus more on the thigh muscles and neglect the lower legs. If you have an over developed set of thighs but weak calves, you are likely to injure yourself. The purpose of resistance training is body symmetry. This means you should not neglect any muscle, no matter how small it is.

The Muscles Worked

Heel raises target your calf muscles on the back of your legs. This bodyweight exercise also improves your balance. Improved balance is a great way to prevent injuries. Another benefit is that bodyweight exercises strengthen your bones. Strong bones can help you prevent development of osteoporosis or weakening of your bones. Boxers often focus on doing heel raises because it helps increase their stability.

Safety Tips

Bodyweight heel raises have the same general safety tips as other exercises. However, this exercise does make it necessary to pay close to your body position. If you shift your weight as you’re exercising, you’re liable to lose your balance. This can cause you to fall or even to sprain your ankles.

  • Keep your upper body straight.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in.
  • Make slow, controlled movements.
  • Do not arch your back.
  • Do not let your behind stick out.
  • Balance your weight evenly between your feet so that you don’t risk rolling your ankles when you raise your heels.

Make It More Challenging

  • Hold dumbbells in each hand, either by your sides or lightly resting them on your shoulders.
  • Increase the number of repetitions you do.
  • Increase the number of sets you do.
  • Do the heel raises with your toes on a step.
  • Do the heel raises with your toes on phone book.
  • Wear ankle weights as you exercise.

The best thing about bodyweight exercises is that you can do them anywhere. So the next time you’re stuck in line at the grocery store, crank out a few heel raises. You will help yourself pass the time and get more fit while you’re doing it.


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