The squat calf raise is a kind of squat variation that involves the squat and calf raise workout. This workout involves your glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, calves, core muscles, and all stabilizing muscles.
Squat calf raise is a versatile workout that you can employ to achieve different goals depending on your needs.
You can use the workout to enhance your strength, your stability, and your endurance by manipulating some aspects of the workout such as the number of repetitions, amount of resistance, and the range of motion.
Here are the steps to take in doing the workout.
- Start by standing with your feet at shoulder width. Raise your hands and make your forearms parallel to your face. With your back straight, involve your core and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Take one or two seconds then thrust up explosively through your toes to raise yourself up.
- Ascend straight up past the starting position by raising your calves up then stand with the balls of your feet. Hold on for 2 seconds then lower yourself back to the starting position.
- Do the move continuously up to 12 few reps.
In doing the workout, the calves are activated at the completion of the move when you raise your body by pressing down through the balls of your feet.
The move strengthens the calves and the muscle fibers around your ankles. The calf has two muscles- gastrocnemius and soleus.
Gastrocnemius forms the larger part of the calf and it is responsible for the flexion of the knee and the feet. Soleus also helps to a minor extent the flexion your foot.
It is of profound importance that you build your calves in that it assists in almost all your functional moves like walking, jumping, running etc.
Glutes or butt muscles are better activated when squatting down. The degree of activation greatly depends on the stance you take, the range of motion and the movement pattern.
Your glutes are activated when you initially push back your hips behind as you squat. You should also make sure that your knees are in the same line with your ankles.
A longer range of motion works better on the glutes but if your form doesn’t permit you a full squat, make it a half squat but perfect it.
At the bottom of the squat, squeeze your glutes as you ascend up. This will increase the degree of glute activation.
When you squat the hamstring is activated concentrically and eccentrically.
As you descend into a squat, your hamstring works eccentrically to assist the glutaral muscles in the flexion of the hips so that you may squat.
When ascending, your hamstring works concentrically against the resistance by contracting to extend your hips so you can rise.
The quadriceps are the main movers when doing the squat. They are made of 4 muscles but only 3 muscles get activated during a squat.
They are: vastus medialis, vasti intermedialis and vastus lateralis. The fourth muscle – rectus femoris is rather subtle during the squat.
The extent of muscle activity is dependent on the angle of knee flexion. The muscle activity of quadriceps is maximum at the range of 80 to 90 degrees.
However, at below 90 degrees there isn’t much activity.
BENEFITS OF SQUAT CALF RAISE
When your major muscles including the quads, glutes, hamstring, and your core muscles are activated, you will gain strength drastically depending on the intensity and the resistance that you put up with.
If you build up your strength, you will gain a better physical form.
By increasing the number of repetitions, you can incorporate squat calf raise in your high-intensity workout regimen.
When you increase the speed at which you perform the workout, you will increase respiratory action which leads to burning of more calories.
If losing weight is one of your priorities, then you should consider the squat calf raise because it will not only help you to shed off extra fat, but it will also improve on the tone and shape of your body.
IMPROVES YOUR STABILITY
One of the merits of adding the calf raise on your squat is the stability factor.
When you raise your calves up so that the balls of your feet do the heavy lifting, you will feel light and unstable.
At this point, your core muscles including other stabilizing muscles will step in to counter the balance that you may not fall over.
If these muscles are regularly activated, you will become stable at all times.
Having good stability is essential in performing fitness exercises and even in your casual activities like running and carrying luggage.
VARIATIONS OF THE SQUAT CALF RAISE
Dumbbell Squat Calf Raise
This move involves squatting using dumbbells and doing the calf raise. The workout enhances the muscles better due to the additional resistance of the dumbbells.
Your muscles will therefore have to work harder to sustain the total weight in squatting and doing the calf raise.
Holding the dumbbells by your side is beneficial because it lowers your center of gravity and your body become is more stable.
This is how to do it:
- Stand with your feet at shoulder width and hold a pair of dumbbells so let them hang by your sides.
- Pop your chest out to ensure your back is straight then engage your core muscles and lower your body.
- Squat until your thighs become parallel to the floor. Press through the balls of your feet to rise up.
- Move past the starting position by raising your calves up. Pause for two seconds then back to the starting position. This workout activates your calves, quadriceps, hamstring, and glutes.
BARBELL SQUAT CALF RAISE
The barbell calf raise is more or less the same as the dumbbell calf raises except for the latter you require a barbell.
If you are working with a barbell, you hold it either on your back shoulders or your front shoulders.
- To do the barbell calf raise, load the barbell and hold it with a wide grip on your shoulders behind your head.
- With your chin up and your back straight, engage your core muscles and descend down into a squat.
- When your thighs are parallel to the floor, push yourself back up through your feet past the starting position and up by raising your calves.
- When you get to the top, hold on for a second and get back on your feet to the starting position.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
The most common mistake done by trainees is having incorrect posture while doing the squat. This happens especially in the positioning of your back.
You should tell if you are in the wrong position if your back is rounded, your shoulders are hunched up and your head is sagging down. The correct position should be – having drawn back shoulders, a popped-out chest, and a straight back.
You should also take note of the Incorrect positioning of your lower body while doing the squat calf raise.
Note that when you are in the wrong posture, your feet curve inwards, your knees point outwards over your ankle, and your knees collapse inwards while squatting down.
The perfect squat posture requires that your feet curve outwards to enhance your stability. Your knees should be in a straight line with your ankle and also, they should not collapse inwards, instead, they should stay firm all through the workout.