How many calf raises can you do?

Calf raises or rises are known to be a great exercise to help test and maintain calf endurance. Your calves are responsible for propelling you forward when you walk and run and help to control your foot and ankle. When someone sustains a lower limb injury we often test calf strength with a calf raise test to determine the calf strength and endurance both sides. We usually aim to get the individual to complete maximum amount of single leg calf raises each side looking at technique, height and control.

Most of the time this measure is then used repeatedly as a comparison score. Calf raises are also routinely performed weighted for athletes so they are training their calves to have high endurance and power depending on what sport they do. For example, a long distance runner will need good endurance and strength of their calf complex to allow them to run and propel forward for a long amount of time. A netball or basketball player needs explosive strength and power of their calves to assist them to sprint, change direction and to jump high to contest for the ball. A dancer needs lots of calf strength, length and endurance to allow them to achieve deep pliés and relevés, as well as being able to jump high, spring onto pointe and keep pointed toes. Basically calf strength is important at all stage of life and with lots of different sports and activities.

A study done in 2017 by Herbert-Losier and colleagues measured the calf raise endurance numbers of different people at different ages. They had to do a single leg calf raise on a ten degree incline board to a 60bpm metronome until failure. From these numbers the researchers collated normative values on calf raises for different age groups and male and female. These normative values allow us as physiotherapists to have a benchmark for patients and athletes to get to which helps guide our goals of rehab for different injuries and return to sport.

Below is a table of the normative values deduced by the study.

Check them out and see how many you can do!


Male Female





32 27


28 24






70-79 14


80-89 10