How to Donkey Calf Raise

About the Donkey Calf Raise

Somewhat less popular than the traditional standing calf raise, the donkey calf raise similarly targets the gastrocnemius muscle of the calf. Interestingly, the use of iEMG (which is used to record muscle activity) shows the donkey calf is slightly more stimulating to the gastrocnemius than the traditional standing calf raise.

This exercise profile discusses the donkey calf raise performed using the machine, but the exercise can also be performed without one. Although less common these days, the athlete can perform the exercise by using a raised platform, a sturdy upright for support and a training partner who is will to sit on their back. Obviously this choice is not suitable for all, and will probably draw some attention in many commercial gyms!

How to perform


  1. Set pin to the correct weight and adjust the pad depending on your height
  2. Bend torso forward and position your hip and lower back underneath the pad, grasping the handles for support
  3. Place the balls of your feet on the edge of the raised platform with your heels over hanging
  4. Maintain a slight bend in the knee throughout the exercise


  1. Raise your heels upwards by contracting the calf and ascend until peak contraction is reached
  2. Slowly reverse the movement, allowing the heels to descend slightly further than the level of the platform to provide a stretch to the calf
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

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