For greatest convenience, heel raises are done on an exercise machine. To do the exercise, place the balls of your feet on the raised platform and your shoulders under the resistance lever pads. On most machines the pads are lower than your shoulders, so you must squat to position yourself under the pads. As you do this, be sure to flex your knees and keep your spine erect (in normal curvature) at all times. Straighten your legs to assume the standing ready position.
In this position balance does not play a role. However, because of the importance of balance for athletes, as well as bodybuilders, execution of the heel raise in a free standing position should also be done. Execution is the same as on the machine.
To begin, place the balls of your feet on the raised platform and your shoulders under the resistance-lever pads of the calf raise machine. Straighten your legs to assume a standing position. When you are ready, inhale and hold your breath as you lower your heels until you feel a stretch of the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Keep holding your breath and, with your spine held firmly, rise up as high as possible and hold the up position for one to two seconds.
In the ending position, your heels should be raised maximally and your legs should be straight. Exhale and lower your body under control to the initial position. Pause momentarily and repeat.
To develop greater balance, do this exercise on a raised platform while holding dumbbells in your hands or a barbell across your shoulders. Execution is the same but, because of the balance factor you will have to use less weight to maintain stability. If you need support, you can do the exercise on one leg on a raised platform as for example, the base support of a machine, while you hold a part of the machine with one hand and a dumbbell in the other.