Several types of exercises will target your calves, but to increase the challenge and get the most from your workout, work your calves while wearing ankle weights. The longer you use ankle weights in your calf routine, the more weight you'll likely be able to use. Talk to your doctor before starting any type of exercise program, and if something hurts during your workout, stop and rest.
Standing Calf Raise
You don't need a gym membership to do a standing calf raise, which some trainers consider the best exercise for building your calf muscles. Stand with your legs slightly apart and then lift your heels. Tighten your calf muscles when you've extended as far as you can. Hold as long as you can, and then lower your heels to the ground. You can get the same benefit by using some type of step machine. Adding ankle weights will increase the difficulty and intensity of this exercise. To get the most from this exercise, raise and lower your calves slowly, doing no more than 10 to 20 reps per minute. For a variation, try balancing on just your toes and heels while standing still, and then try the same move while wearing ankle weights.
Seated Calf Raise
A low-impact exercise with high-impact results, seated calf raises target the lower muscle of your calf, or the soleus. Adding ankle weights adds to the difficulty of this exercise. While sitting straight with your feet on the ground, lift both heels up. Press into your thighs with your hands as you press your thighs into your hands, creating resistance. If you use a machine to assist you, a stationary pad across your thighs creates this same resistance.
Leg Press Calf Raises
Perform leg press calf raises on a leg press machine. If using ankle weights, strap the weights to your ankles before settling into the machine. Press your feet against the sled of the machine a few times to try out how it feels with the added weight. Press into the sled as you would during a leg press, except press with your toes and heels rather than your entire foot. When you've extended your legs as far as they go without locking your knees, tighten your calves. Hold for two or three breaths, then slowly lower back into resting position.
Because jumps are high-impact exercises, practice them without ankle weights first. Stand with knees slightly bent and your weight on the balls of your feet and the toes; jump up to a raised step and back down with both feet, starting with a low step at first. Land on the balls of your feet with knees bent, and then repeat the jump. When you're ready to add ankle weights, start with lighter weights than you usually use.