The seated calf raise strengthens the muscles of the calves, primarily the soleus. The soleus consists of mostly slower twitch muscle fibers. It functions as a postural muscle and serves in locomotion. By comparison, the gastrocnemius tends to be faster-twitch, and functions more dominantly in the role of locomotion.
Calf training is most effective at a variety of angles because of the way that the foot and ankle must be able to absorb force in nature. As such, it is best to use multiple versions of calf exercises in strength training programs. This particular version of the seated calf raise specifically targets the medial part of the soleus.
Sit on the calf raise machine and secure your thighs under the pads. Keep the knees wider than hip-width. Place the feet hip-width apart; toes straight and centered on the foot plate.
The balls of your feet should be on the footplate; the rest of the foot should hang off the back of the platform. Raise your heels slightly, and then release the hand lever. Lower your heels as far as possible to generate maximum elongation of the fibers of the calves. Inhale.
As you exhale, push the metatarsals down on the footplate, and raise your heels as high as you can, as shown.
Inhale as you lowly lower the weights by dropping your heels until you fully stretch your calves again. When you have completed your set, return the safety lever to the locked position, and exit the machine.
Gardiner, NY Personal Trainer / Strength Coach
Bindu Nambiar is the head personal trainer and owner of Physiqology, a personal training business based in the town of Gardiner in the Hudson Valley, NY area. She specializes in injury rehab, strength training for sport, flexibility, and mobility training.