My Back Hurts When Doing Weighted Calf Raises


I’m sure someone else has had this problem before so I wanted write a post about it and see if anyone can provide some input. When I do standing calf raises (like the lady in the picture) with dumbbells in both hands, maybe 15-20 lbs each, my lower back really starts to hurt. Sometimes to the point of me having to hurry and put the dumbbells down before falling to the ground. Has this ever happened to you?

I can do any other exercise with no problems whatsoever, from upright rows to a variety of curls, all of which are in the same particular stance. I suppose it’s because with the calf raises the weight never moves and strains my back, but it’s something that really bothers me.

I’m guessing I have a few options; I need to start working out my lower back more often, I could start doing curls while doing calf raises to keep the weight moving, I could use a barbell instead or I could start going back to the gym and using a calf machine. I really don’t want to go back to the gym though, so I guess I’ll have to pick from the other three.

I’ve tried positioning the weight on both the front and back part of my legs and that doesn’t help either. Does anyone know if the workout loses function if I’m holding the weight up near my chest? Do I have any other options?

2 Replies to “My Back Hurts When Doing Weighted Calf Raises”

  1. At a guess, maybe as you’re rising up you’re arching your lower back slightly? Could simply be a posture issue.

    Try consciously tilting your pelvis forward slightly (e.g. clench your butt!) as you do the rise and see if that prevents some of the pain.

    As for where you hold the weights, by your sides is optimal. Sure, your calves don’t care where the weights are but your back / core might (too much weight up front means you’re utilising other muscles to retain balance I think?).

    Found your blog searching for P90X meal plan; went shopping using the market list and glad we (my wife and I) had a heads-up about the potential cost involved, so thanks for posting it! Also surprised at the sheer amount of food I should be eating at breakfast, totally stuffed now! 😀 Done a round of P90x before but didn’t follow the meal plan at all; we’re getting serious and hopefully the results will be greater.

    Good luck with the lower back issue!

  2. You know, it very well could be just a slight arch I’m creating without realizing it. I’ll have to try to pay more attention to it. Thanks for the tip Grant!

    I’m glad I could help with the p90x meal plan 🙂 There are lots of good meals in there (some not so good too, like the squash soup) but I just don’t have the time or the money to do it. It seems like I was cooking for two hours every night!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *