donkey calf raise

The donkey calf raise is a strength and muscle-building exercise focused on the muscles of the lower leg, most prominently the calves (gastrocnemius muscles). This movement can be performed without any weight or commonly with a gym buddy sitting on the back, It can also be done with a weight belt holding weights for added resistance. Depending on the method of weight/resistance you choose, it will change the usual rep range.

  • Builds stronger, thicker calves
  • Allows heavy loading of calves with minimal equipment
  • Emphasises both stretch and contraction in the calf muscles
  • Easy to add pauses or manipulate tempo to increase intensity

Video Source: Men’s Health

  • Main Muscle Worked: Calves
  • Secondary Muscles Worked: None
  • Type: Strength
  • Equipment: Body/Partner/Weight Belt
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force Type: Push
  • Level: Intermediate
  1. Set up for the donkey calf raise by setting a calf raise block or step in front of something stable to hang on to.
  2. Stand on the block with the balls of your feet on the edge.
  3. Bend over and hold onto something stable such as an incline bench. This where you can either choose to have someone sit on your back or allow your weight belt and added weight hang from the torso
  4. Slowly let the heels drop as far as possible. This is the starting position for the movement.
  5. Raise your heels slowly until you’re pushing them as high as possible.
  6. Pause and squeeze the calf muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.


How to do donkey calf raise