The standing calf raise strengthens the muscles of the calves, primarily the gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius is typically comprised of relatively fast-twitch fibers, whereas the soleus is composed of mostly slower-twitch fibers. While the gastroc is more responsible for propulsion, the soleus is more responsible for stabilization, or steering.
Due to the performance requirements of the foot and the ankle – they must be able to absorb ground force from all angles – it makes sense to do a variety of exercises for the calves in strength training programs. This particular version focuses attention on the middle aspect of the gastrocnemius.
Before you can perform any calf raise, you must perform some initial set up. To properly adjust the machine to perform the exercise, position the top lever of the Standing Calf Raise machine at a level that is below your shoulders when you stand on the foot plate.
Now, step under the shoulder pads, and step onto the foot plate. Your feet should be hip-width apart with your toes pointing straight ahead. Position your metatarsals – the balls of your feet – so that they are on the footplate, with the rest of the foot – the arch and the heels – hanging off the back. Stand up straight under the shoulder pads, straighten your knees without locking them, and inhale.
As you exhale, press your metatarsals down on the footplate, and raise your heels as high as you can.
Once at the top of the range, inhale and lower your heels toward the floor until your calves are fully stretched.
NYC Personal Trainer / Strength Coach
Bindu Nambiar is a strength coach and fascial stretch therapist at Physiqology Inc., a New York City based personal training company. Bindu helps her clients get stronger, recover from injury, lose weight, and look great!