Seated calf raise exercise

Machine seated calf raise

Exercise details

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

Starting position

  1. Sit in the calf raise machine and place your forefeet on the foot platforms, with your heels extending off.
  2. Place your thighs under the lever pads and adjust the pads to snugly support your thighs.
  3. Lift the lever a little and release the safety bar, giving the lever freedom to descend.
  4. Hold the handles for support.


  1. Inhale as you allow the lever to descend in a controlled manner until you feel a stretch in your calves.
  2. Hold for a count of one.
  3. Exhale as you press the lever all the way up by raising your heels.
  4. Hold for a count of two.
  5. Repeat.
  6. When you have finished, secure the lever with the safety bar.

Comments and tips

  • Holding for a count of one before pressing the lever back up allows the elastic energy in your Achilles tendons to dissipate, thus preventing you from using the energy to bounce the lever back up.
  • If your calves have different sizes, perform the exercise one leg at a time, starting with your smaller leg. To promote equal size and strength between your calves, do not perform more reps with your larger leg.
  • Your soleus and gastrocnemius make up your calf. In the seated calf raise, your soleus is the target and your gastrocnemius is the synergist. In the standing calf raise, your gastrocnemius is the target and your soleus is the synergist.
  • Building your soleus makes your gastrocnemius look bigger because your gastrocnemius sits on top of your soleus.
  • If you don’t have access to a seated calf raise machine, you can perform seated calf raises with a barbell on your knees and your forefeet on a block. See the second video.
  • See also the hack machine calf raise, the machine seated one-leg calf raise, and the seated dumbbell one-leg calf raise.

Seated calf raise videos


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