donkey calf raises

Donkey Calf Raises - A Staple of Any Effective Calf Workout

Calf Workout That Can Be Done with a Machine or at Home

Donkey calf raises are one of the best calf exercises around.  The name does sound a little odd, but this exercise should be included in any calf workout.  You can perform donkey calf raises with a machine at the gym, or at home without a machine.  If you perform this calf exercise without a machine, you will need a partner for assistance.

Donkey Calf Raises with a Machine
Most gyms have a donkey calf raise machine that you can use for this exercise.  If you're unsure about what this machine looks like, you may want to ask an employee at your gym.  

Please see the top of the article for a picture of what a donkey calf raise machine looks like.  It includes a pad and handles in front, for you to grip and place your forearms.  There's a narrow platform underneath, which is where you place your feet before doing the donkey calf raises.  Make sure the balls of your feet are on the platform, while your heels are hanging off the edge.  Your body should be facing away from the machine.

There's also a pad up above, which goes on top of your lower back/hips.  This pad may need to be adjusted to the correct height.  It should gently rest on your lower back/hips, while you have your knees slightly bent.  Off to the side is the stack of weights, which you can adjust, based on your fitness goals.

Once you are positioned correctly within the donkey calf raise machine, push your toes into the platform and use your calf muscles to raise the weight.  Once you've pushed the weight up, hold it for a second, and then lower the weight back down.  That is considered one repetition.  If you're trying to gain strength and muscle mass in your calves, use a heavy weight and do 6-8 reps.  If you're goal is more toned calf muscles, use a lighter weight and do 12-15 reps.

Donkey Calf Raises Without a Machine
Donkey calf raises can also be done without a specific machine.  You'll just need to mimic the same movement, which means you'll have to get a little creative.  You'll need a foot platform of some sort, which can be a piece of wood or anything that will keep your feet off the ground.  You'll also need something to lean on.  If you're at a gym, you can use a bench press or squat bar.  If you're doing donkey calf raises at home, you could use the edge of a table or counter, for example.

You'll also need some weight resistance for the donkey calf raises to be effective, which is where it gets interesting.  This is where your weight lifting partner comes in.  Have them sit on your back, with their legs hanging down on each side of you. 

To put this all together, you'll have the balls of your feet on the foot platform, with your heels hanging off the edge.  Bend over, with your knees slightly bent, and place your hands on the bar, table, or whatever you're using for support.  Once you're bent over, have your training partner sit on your back for resistance.  When you're ready, push your toes into the platform and drive your heels upward, until your calves are completely flexed.  Hold the position for a second and then lower your heels back down to the starting position.  When you lower your heels, make sure they go down past your toes, so you get the full range of motion.  Form is very important when doing donkey calf raises.

Donkey calf raises are a staple in any effective calf workout.  It's one of the best exercises for your calves, because they're isolated throughout the entire workout.  Doing donkey calf raises without a machine, whether it be at home or a gym, may take a little getting used to, since you do have an actual person sitting on your back.  It's also important that you stretch before doing donkey calf raises.  It'll help you maximize your calf workout and will help you get the best results possible.

donkey calf raises without machine