If you’re a runner and you’re wanting to find out some great calf strengthening exercises, watch this video or read the summary below, as it’ll take you through some calf strengthening exercises for runners.



These exercises are good for all abilities.

Why focus on calf strength?

The calf can get overlooked when people are trying to strengthen their legs for running. The focus can be on the hips and the glutes, the front of the thigh (quads) and the back of the thigh (hamstrings).

Calves are really important as they help propel yourself forward when you’re running. In addition, as you get older, you are more reliant on your calves to help you walk, push yourself forward, and run.

Calf strengthening exercises for runners

The exercise is really straightforward – you want to go up and down on your tiptoes. Start with your knees straight and go up and down.

calf strengthening exercises for runners: Knees straight, raise heels up and down

Repeat with your knees bent. This will help strengthen muscles around the lower part of the ankle and the calf and also works on your balance

calf strengthening exercises for runners: Knees bent, raise heels up and down

Watch out for good technique…

When you’ve got your knees bent, you want to be focusing on moving the body up and down.

calf strengthening exercises for runners: Knees bent, focus on raising the whole body up and down

And watch out for cheats…

If you’re cheating, the knees will go forwards and backwards and will be easier than moving the body up and down. Try it both ways so you can see the difference.

calf strengthening exercises for runners: Knees bent, it's cheating if the knees just go forwards and backwards

Progression of exercises:

Start on flat ground, with something to hold onto if needed. Repeat 3 x 8-12.

  • Stand on both legs:
    • Knee straight, raise heels up and down
    • Knees bent, raise heels up and down
  • Stand on right leg:
    • Knee straight, raise heels up and down
    • Knees bent, raise heels up and down
  • Stand on left leg and repeat the above

Progress to repeating the above on stairs. This will make sure you go through your full range of movement at the ankle joint.

Runners definitely want to be working through your whole range of movement at the ankle joint, as this can help with your efficiency running.

Adding weights

If you’ve tried the above and aren’t finding it too challenging, add some hand weights. After doing the exercises, you’re wanting to feel the fatigue/work in the muscles, so it’ll depend on your own fitness levels as to how much weight to add.


Try It Out

Try out these calf strengthening exercises for runners and see how you do.

Remember, listen to your body, please don’t push past any pain. If you get any aches and pain around the calf, ankle, or Achilles, then please get it checked out, so that you know that you’re doing the right thing just for your individual circumstance.

Extra Suggestions

Read our post or watch the video talking you through an easy warm-up to do before your run.

What’s Next?

If you want to find out more about how to help your running, then our video and blog next week will talk you through a couple of exercises to help improve your hip movement.

Hips tend to get stiff, particularly for people that are sitting for a large majority of the day. If they’re stiff, they’re not going to work as well as you’d want them to. Improving flexibility can give muscles more leverage to work effectively, which could help with your running.


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Let us know if you have any questions, and forward the video or blog on and share it with anybody that you think could do with a little bit of a routine before they run.



As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos and text. Thanks for your understanding.

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