The dumbbell toe raise (aka dumbbell calf raise) mainly works the upper portion of the calves or the gastrocnemius. Three items are needed for this exercise: 1) a supportive apparatus for balance 2) an elevated surface (e.g. aerobic step, 2 x 4, etc.) to allow for full range of motion 3) a dumbbell.
Position the aerobic step a few inches away from the support apparatus. The support device can be the back of a chair, wall, or anything that you can grab onto for balance. Grab a dumbbell on the same side (opposite is okay too) of the calf you wish to work. Place the ball of your foot on the edge of the step. The opposite leg can be crossed over the back of the other ankle or you can simply bend your knee. Ensure you are holding on to your support device, then slowly elevate yourself as high as you can by standing on the ball of your foot. Hold for a second, then come down slowly until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle. Repeat the movement on both calves.
Grab dumbbell, preferably on same side of calf you wish to work. Hold onto support apparatus for balance.
Slowly come down until you feel a light stretch.
Elevate onto toes as high as you can. Repeat several times.