Calf Raise Seated

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the height of the pads above the knees.
  2. Sit down with pads located on the upper thighs behind the knees.
  3. Place the feet on the designated footpad of the machine with feet shoulder width apart.
  4. Release the safety latch and allow the heels to hang down from the designated foot pad. This will place a stretch on the calf muscles.
  5. Sit straight up and look straight ahead.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Push upward from the balls of your feet, bringing heels upward as high you can.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, slowly lower the heels back to starting position.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric/phase phase and inhale during the eccentric/lowering phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Soleus
  • Synergists: Peroneus longus, peroneus brevis, plantaris, flexor digitorum longus, flexor hallucis longus, tibialis posterior
  • Stabilizers: Tibialis anterior
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Plantar flexion
  • Equipment: Seated calf raise machine
  • Lever: 3rd class lever
  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Calf Raise Seated

    What Is A Machine Seated Calf Raise?

    A seated calf raise is a resistance exercise, which targets the soleus calf muscle. This exercise is performed at a seated calf raise machine.

    The concentric portion of the lift is plantar flexion. The eccentric portion is dorsiflexion as the resistance is lowered.

    The purpose of the seated calf raise is to strengthen and develop the soleus muscle.

    Why Do A Machine Seated Calf Raise?

    Seated calf raises strengthen and develop the soleus, which lies deep to the gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius plantar flexes the foot when the knee is extended, therefore, emphasizing the soleus to plantar flex the ankle when in a seated position.

    Developing the soleus complements the aesthetics of the gastrocnemius as its deep location augments the appearance of the overall calf muscle.

    In addition to serving as an exercise that enhances the aesthetics of the legs, seated calf raises also complement weightlifting and sport performance.

    Anatomy Of A Machine Seated Calf Raise

    The soleus lies underneath the gastrocnemius. Its origin is located at the upper ends of the tibia and fibula and interosseous membrane. It shares the same insertion as the gastrocnemius, forming the Achilles tendon into the heel bone. The soleus plantar flexes the foot and is an important postural muscle during walking, running and dancing.

    The peroneus longus and brevis are located on the lateral side of the lower leg along the fibula bone. The peroneus longus is superficial and its origin is located at the upper region of the lateral fibula. The muscle belly ends above the ankle and forms a long tendon that runs under the foot and inserts into the first metatarsal (behind the big toe) and medial cuneiform. The peroneus longus plantar flexes and everts the foot. It also plays an important role in foot stabilization when standing. The peroneus brevis lies underneath the peroneus longus. Its origin is located at the distal fibula shaft with a muscle belly that runs lower than the peroneus longus. Its tendon runs behind the lateral malleolus (visible “ankle bone”) to insert on the proximal end of the fifth metatarsal (behind the “pinky” toe).

    The plantaris is a small muscle that some individuals may not possess. Its origin is located at the posterior femur above the lateral condyle. Its insertion is located at the calcaneus (heel bone) via a long, thin tendon that also forms the Achilles tendon. The plantaris assists in knee flexion and plantar flexion.

    The flexor digitorum longus is a long, narrow muscle that runs downward behind the lower leg. Its origin is located on the posterior side of the tibia. Its tendon runs behind the medial malleolus (visible “ankle bone” on the inside of the ankle), splits, and inserts into the distal phalanges of toes 2-5 (every toe except the “big toe”). As the name as the muscle indicates, the flexor digitorum longus flexes the toes as well as plantar flexes and inverts the ankle.

    The origin of the flexor hallucis longus is located half way down the fibula and interosseous membrane. Its tendon runs under the foot with its insertion located at the distal phalanx of the toe. The flexor hallucis longus plantar flexes and inverts the ankle. It flexes the big toes. It is an important muscle in the “push off” phase of walking.

    The tibialis posterior is a thick muscle deep to the soleus. Its origin is located at the upper region of the tibia and fibula. Its tendon passes behind the medial malleolus and under the arch of the foot, inserting into tarsal bones and metatarsals 2-4. The tibialis posterior is an important muscle that stabilizes the arch of the foot. It is particularly important for people with flat feet to strengthen this muscle. The tibialis posterior plantar flexes and inverts the ankle.

    The tibialis anterior, a dorsiflexor that also inverts the ankle, helps stabilize the arch of the foot and stabilizes the ankle joint during this exercise.

    Variations Of A Machine Seated Calf Raise

    Standing calf raise, leg press calf raise, donkey calf raise, Smith machine calf raise.

    How To Improve Your Machine Seated Calf Raises

    Performing standing calf raises, in addition to seated calf raises, optimizes the strength and development of the calf muscles.

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” as the ankles plantar flex (as your shift your weight onto the balls of your feet).

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between back and shoulder training days to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Machine Seated Calf Raises

    Using momentum to lift the weight (e.g. bouncing at the bottom of the movement) minimizes the potential of force production of the involved muscles and can increase the risk for injury. It is important that both the eccentric and concentric phases of the exercise are controlled.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Machine Seated Calf Raises

    If the lifter has a compromised range of motion with the ankle joint and/or performs this exercise incorrectly, this exercise can increase the risk of injury and/or exacerbate a previous injury.

    If proper technique and recovery are not adhered to, ankle, Achilles tendon, knee and/or lower back injuries may occur.