Machine standing calf raise exercise

Machine standing calf raise

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Gastrocnemius
  • Synergists: Soleus
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Stand in the calf raise machine with the padded levers resting on your shoulders.
  2. Position the balls of your feet on the foot platform, with the arches and heels of your feet extending off.
  3. Hold the lever handles for support.


  1. Exhale as you push the levers up as far as possible by raising your heels.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lower the levers until you feel a slight stretch in your calves.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back straight.
  • Do not lock your knees out.
  • Turn your toes inward (internal rotation) while performing the machine standing calf raise to emphasize the lateral head of your gastrocnemius, turn your toes outward (external rotation) to emphasize the medial head of your gastrocnemius, or keep your toes pointing forward to place equal emphasis on each head. This tip was believed to be a myth because the internal and external rotation of your legs occurs at the level of your hips, which doesn’t affect your gastrocnemius. However, the tip’s validity is now backed by a bit of science.
  • Unless there is a significant size difference in the two heads of your gastrocnemius, just keep your toes pointing forward.
  • Your gastrocnemius and soleus make up your calf. In the standing calf raise, your gastrocnemius is the target and your soleus is the synergist. In the seated calf raise, your soleus is the target and your gastrocnemius is the synergist.
  • See also the standing dumbbell one-leg calf raise and the hack machine calf raise.

Machine standing calf raise video


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