Strengthening your calves is one of the difficult things to do. However, doing the right exercises and properly can make you build strong calves easily. This article assesses the effectiveness of the seated calf raise exercise. It explains the muscles that get worked by this exercise and also gives detailed instructions that you can follow to do the exercise properly. Other exercises that are good at engaging calves are also discussed in detail to give you various options.
Some exercises discussed below include the standing calf raise, seated barbell calf raise, dumbbell calf raise, and others. The alternative exercises that you can do in place of the seated calf raise include jumping boxes and plate pushing. Enjoy the following passages as you learn more about the calf raises exercises.
Seated Calf Raises Without Machine
Using a calf machine makes it easy to do your exercise. However, you don’t have to pause building your calves if you don’t have the calf machine. There are different ways of doing the seated calf raise without the use of the calf raise machine.
You might be wondering whether the exercise is effective or not. You can give it a try and experience it yourself. But the effectiveness of building calves without the machine is guaranteed. To do the exercise; follow the instructions below;
Seated Barbell Calf Raise
This is a strength exercise that targets the calf muscles. To be specific, the calf muscle that get hit harder by this exercise is soleus. Soleus is found on the lower back of the leg and it is responsible for your movements such as walking and standing.
Therefore, this variation of calf raise is effective in strengthening your muscles that are critical for your body movement. You need a bench, a barbell, and a weighted plate or a block. To do the seated barbell calf raise, follow the instructions below;
- Place a bench on stable ground and put the weighted plate down at the end of the bench.
- Sit on the end of the bench and rest the barbell on your thighs.
- Place your feet balls on the weighted plate or the block. Then lower your heels as far as you can. But avoid touching the floor with your heels.
- Bring your heels up to the top and raise them as far as you can with the feet balls still on the weighted plate. Squeeze your calves at the top of the movement.
- Repeat the move to meet the number of your desired sets and reps.
Seated Calf Raise Machine
This machine is gym equipment that allows you to train or exercise your calves while seated. It can be used at a gym facility or at home. The machine is not too big and it does not take a lot of space. Thus making it easy to use it at home.
Due to the fact that you exercise your calves seated, the machine focuses more on soleus muscle than any other calf muscles. As such the gastrocnemius calf muscle found on the top of soleus does not receive more attention compared to other calf muscles.
There are different brands offering this tool. Therefore, when you are buying a machine, you should consider different features of the machine. For instance, you should check whether the machine comes with weight plates or not. Another feature that you should consider is the knee pads.
Are the knee pads adjustable?
You should be comfortable when exercising, therefore the knee pads play a significant role in terms of your comfort.
More so, check the machine’s dimensions. You must be able to use the machine comfortably considering its dimensions. You must not be squashed while using the machine. When buying the calf raise machine, you should also consider the machine’s capacity. The higher capacity indicates the durability of the machine. It might mean that the machine is made of a strong material such as steel.
Check the foot supports. Some foot supports can be dangerous and uncomfortable to use. Reading the customer reviews on the calf raise machine that you want to buy is also useful. You may get useful comments from people who have used the machine. You can make an informed decision based on those comments.
Seated Calf Raise At Home
You can exercise your calves muscles at home with or without a calf raise machine. You can take advantage of the weight and exercise your calves while seated. Some weights that you can use include barbell, dumbbells, weight plates, among others.
Therefore, you can do exercises such as seated barbell calf raise, seated dumbbell calf raise, and more. You should make sure that you are doing the exercises correctly with your body in good posture.
The calf raise exercise done at home without equipment can be effective if it is done correctly. Yes, it requires the right equipment to develop calves but exercising with what you have in a good form is better than nothing.
Standing Calf Raise
You can also work your calves by doing the standing calf raise exercise. This exercise is done standing. You can use the standing calf raise machine or use weights to exercise your calves while standing. Unlike the seated calf raise exercise, the standing calf raise mainly targets the gastrocnemius.
The gastrocnemius muscles are calf muscles located on the top side of the leg or on top of the soleus muscle. To do the standing calf raise exercise, follow the steps below;
- Stand in the machine and make sure that the padded levers are on your shoulders.
- Keep your feet balls on the foot platform with the heels off the foot platform.
- You can hold onto the lever to support your body. Make sure that your back is straight when doing the exercise.
- Raise your heels to push the levers up as far as you can. Pause and count up to 2.
- Then lower the levers; you will your calves stretching.
Seated Calf Raise Dumbbell
This exercise targets the soleus muscle. To do the exercise follow the steps below;
- Place the bench on stable ground and put the weight plate down at the end of the bench.
- While holding the dumbbells in your hands, sit on the end of a bench.
- Place your feet balls on the edge of a weight plate.
- Then put the dumbbells on your thighs.
- Lower your heels towards the floor.
- Bring the heels up as far as you can.
- Repeat the moves to meet your desired number of reps.
Seated Calf Raise Alternative
The calf raise exercises are well known for working the calf muscles. However, there are different exercises that you can try to work the same muscles worked by the seated calf raise. Remember that the seated calf raise target the soleus muscles. Therefore, the alternatives must also be good at hitting the soleus. Below are some exercises that you can try to build and strengthen your muscles.
This exercise is good for working your calves muscles. It is so fun and you can do it anytime to strengthen your calves. You don’t need a lot of things to do the exercise. Follow the steps below to do the box jumps properly;
- Place a solid box or bench on stable ground. You can also use a step instead of a bench.
- Stand next to the box with your feet at hip width apart distance.
- Bend your knees to be in a squat position.
- Jump onto the box and make sure that you are in a squat position again.
- Step back to the starting position.
- Be in a squat position and repeat the move.
This is another exercise that you can do to work your calves. You need the weight plate to do the exercise. Follow the instructions below to do the exercise properly;
- Place a towel on a smooth floor and put a weight plate on top of it.
- Bend your body and place your hands onto the weight plate. Make sure that your hands are in front of your shoulders.
- Bend your knees in such a way that the leg is parallel to the ground. Balance with the toes on the ground. Your thigh and the leg must be forming a 90-degree angle.
- Press your feet to the floor while driving the knees towards your chest.
- Start pushing the plate and keep your back flat and parallel to the floor throughout the exercise.
- You can push the weight plate for about 25 to 30 meters without resting.
- Rest and repeat.
Seated Calf Raise Muscles Worked
The seated calf raise exercise targets the soleus muscles. When you exercise with your knees bent; you hit the lower legs muscles more than the upper leg muscles.
In conclusion, the seated calf raise is good for working the soleus muscles. You can locate the soleus on the lower calves under the gastrocnemius muscle. The exercise does not work much on the upper side of the leg. Therefore, it can be said that the exercise is effective in hitting the lower part of the calf muscles than the upper part.
As long as you exercise your calves seated, you primarily target the soleus than any other muscles. Then you work the upper muscles of the calves when doing the standing calf raise exercise. If you want to hit the entire calf muscles, you can do the seated and standing calf exercises.
Which calf muscles do you prefer exercising? Share your experiences?