You need to do both seated and standing calf raises to build the size of your calves. A lot of times the seated and standing calf raises are used interchangeably during leg day but they should be used together. The calf is composed of 2 muscles: gastrocnemius and soleus.
The gastrocnemius is the muscle most people think of when thinking of the calf. It is best worked when the leg is in an extended or straight position.
The soleus lays under the gastrocnemius and contributes to the width appearance and also building the gastrocnemius out. It is worked when the knee is bent as in a seated position. When the knee is bent it relaxes and disengages the gastroc which puts more emphasis on the soleus.
Standing Calf Raise (demonstrated on a smith machine)
The standing calf raise puts emphasis on the gastrocnemius which is the muscle that most people think of when thinking of calves. Biggest mistake people make is not getting a full stretch in the muscle which is why I have a box under my feet. You’ll notice at the top of each rep I pause for a moment and squeeze.
Seated Calf Raise
The knees bent during the seated calf raise disengages the gastric which puts most of the work on the soleus. The soleus lays under the gastric and is responsible for the width appearance. Working the soleus will add overall size and shape. I don’t hang onto the handles because I don’t want to unintentionally pull on the weight. Again making sure I get a full stretch and pause at the top.
*If you don’t have access to a calf machine*
Standing Dumbbell Raise
Hanging onto a dumbbell I do the standing calf raise unilaterally. Whatever side I am holding the dumbbell that’s the side I will be working the calf. I hang onto something to help balance myself so I can put all of the focus on the stretch and contraction of the calf.
Seated Dumbbell Raise
I’m doing this with a dumbbell but you can also do this with a barbell. The closer the weight is to your knees the harder it will be because the load will be over your calves. I suggest placing a towel or pad under the weight to make it more comfortable.
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