September 16, 2022

How To Do the Donkey Calf Raise For Soleus And Gastronomies Muscles

You must use the most effective exercises to grow your calves. This conversation includes the donkey calf, which has been an integral part of improving lower leg development for a long time. We’ll show you how to do it, including variations and tips.


You don’t have to worry about the donkeys being hurt or involved in this exercise. This movement was popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would have one and often multiple people on his back while doing calf raises.

We’ve come a long way since the Golden-Era in bodybuilding. There are many variations of the donkey-calf raise (we will get to that soon) and machines specifically made for it.

Calves are often overlooked, but they should not be forgotten. These lower leg muscles can be difficult to improve, especially for athletes. The true benefit of the donkey-calf raise is its ability to give a stretch to the muscles, which is an important component of development.

This guide will show you how to do the donkey-calf raise. It also includes variations and tips on how to incorporate it into your calf workouts.

Here is a guide for donkey calf raising…

This exercise:

  • Target Muscle Group– Gastrocnemius and soleus
  • Type Hypertrophy, strength
  • Mechanics Isolation
  • Equipment– Varies
  • DifficultyBeginner

Muscles Worked

Although the donkey calf lift is a calf muscle exercise, it can also be used to engage the core muscles depending on how much weight is being lifted. We do it primarily to create calves with diamond-shaped shapes.



The calf muscle with the most superficial appearance is the gastrocnemius. It forms the bulge at the upper leg. It has medial and lateral heads. It crosses the ankle and knee joint, and functions at both ends. However, it can plantarflex the foot (points toes down) when your knee is straight.

It also has more fast-twitch fibres than the soleus, which makes it better for explosive and fast movements like sprinting or jumping.


The soleus, the other calf muscles, is large, flat and deep to the gastrocnemius. It crosses the ankle joint, and serves to plantarflex the foot while the knee is bent. Although the attachment points of the soleus and gastrocnemius are different, they join at the Achilles tendon. They attach to the back of your heel.

The soleus is an important postural muscle. It has slower-twitch fibers which are better suited for endurance-type activities.


The core muscle includes the rectus abdominalis (abdominals), the transverse abdominis, and the obliques (internal as well as external). These muscles control the movement and function in the trunk, such as rotation, flexion or extension, stabilization and so on.

How to raise a donkey calf

Now that you know what muscles are used during the donkey’s calf raise, it is time to perform it. We have provided instructions for the most popular variations of the donkey calf raise.

  1. With your heels off, step onto an elevated platform (e.g. weight plates, spotting platforms, blocks, etc.).
  2. Keep your legs straight and hinge forward at your hips. Then, lean on a bench or similar support so your torso is parallel with the floor.
  3. Your heels should be lowered until you feel some stretch in your calves. Next, push your toes to elevate your heel. Continue holding this position for at least a second, then move on to the next.

Donkey calf raise tips

  • You should set your feet correctly so you have full motion in your ankles.
  • To increase resistance, you could also wear a belt with weight to this effect.
  • To maximize the involvement of the gastrocnemious, it is best to keep your knees straight.

There are 4 variations

We’ve already mentioned variations, and we’re going give them to you. There are many options available today thanks to both the advancement of knowledge over the past several decades and the machines that make this possible.

We recommend these four versions of the donkey-calf raise.

Related to Old-School Calf Exercises & Workouts

Donkey calf raise machine

While some gyms may have a donkey calf raising machine, others don’t. If you have one, it’s a great machine that was made for this amazing movement.

Version Smith machine

You can also add weight to the exercise by using the smith machine. Weight plates are typically used to raise your toes and allow for full range of motion. A bench or other support item is also placed in front of you so you can lean on it.

Traditional donkey calf raise

Okay, you might look crazy, but if your crazy personality isn’t influenced by others, then your partner should jump on you and get you pumping.

Leg press calf raising

The leg press calf lift places you at the same angle as the donkey-calf raise, so it could be considered a variation. To ensure that you get a good range of motion, place your toes on top of the platform.

Because of the design of the leg press, we don’t recommend you go too heavy.

How to include the Donkey Calf Raise in Your Training Routine

It is best to include donkey calf raising in your training. It is, after all, a calf exercise.

The donkey calf lift emphasizes the gastrocnemius if done with straight legs. If you choose to do one more calf exercise, bend your knees to perform the seated machine calves raise. This will target the soleus.

There aren’t many variations in calf exercises. You can choose to do either a standing or sitting variation. However, you should include both a standing and sitting calf exercise in every calves workout.


We recommend 15-20 reps to do the donkey calf raising using heavier poundages. Calves can be stubborn muscles and may need to do a lot of reps using heavy weight to get a growth response.

This 6-minute calf workout is a great option.

Wrapping up

A great way to increase your calf strength is the donkey calf raising. You may not feel the need to do it in the traditional manner anymore, unless you don’t care. However, there are many other options that can be used.

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