A Guide To The Best Seated Calf Raise Machines
Training calves is not something that should be neglected, using a seated calf raise machine is one of the most effective ways to build up your calf muscles. This machine allows you to be seated so you can relax your other muscles and focus purely on the target muscle group.
Weight plates will need to be added to increase the weight, this won’t be included so if you already have weight plates then you won’t need to pay for any extra weights. If you already own an adjustable squat rack then you can also use a calf raise block to perform standing calf raises, but it’s also good to have an alternative.
If you’re one of those people that wonder if free weights are better than machines, well usually that is the case. However, there are some exceptions and a sitting calf machine is one of those exceptions, as they’re equally as effective as free weights in our opinion.
How To Choose The Best Seated Calf Raise Machine
We’ve explained each feature below, this will hopefully make it easier for you to decide what’s the best seated calf raise machine for home use.
Adjustable height – All the machines will allow you to adjust the height of the knee pads, this is for the knee pads to lock your legs in so you can perform the exercise.
Adjustable distance – Being able to adjust the distance so the weight plates are further away from you will be beneficial more for people with long legs or if you have large weight plates. If you do have long legs then your knees can end up touching the weights so having one that’s adjustable will prevent this.
Weight plate diameter – The diameter of the weight plate loader will determine what size weight plates you can use. It’ll either be 1” or 2”, some machines will come with an Olympic sleeve adapter which basically converts 1” weight plate loaders to 2”, giving you the option to use both sizes.
For machines that only accommodates 1” plates, you can buy an Olympic sleeve adapter if you prefer to use Olympic size weights.
Warranty – The machines will come with warranty for a peace of mind, it’ll usually have to be for home use otherwise the warranty would be void. If you do plan to use it for any other purpose, check with the manufacturer for the terms and conditions.
Sitting Calf Machine vs Standing Calf Machine
If you were debating what type of calf machine to get, a seated and standing calf machine are probably the two most popular ones. Below we’ve listed the pros and cons of each one so you can decide what one is the best calf machine for you.
Sitting calf machine pros:
- Your other muscles are relaxed so you can isolate your calves easier.
- Cheaper on average.
- More models to choose from.
- Targets the soleus muscle more than the gastrocnemius.
Standing calf machine pros:
- The position allows you to put more force on your calves.
- Targets the gastrocnemius more.
- You can be creative and also use the machine as a standing shoulder press machine.
- Can put a lot of unwanted pressure and tension on your shoulders.
These machines actually work different parts of the calves so having both would be more effective in the overall growth of your calve muscles. We know it’s a lot of money to buy both so as mentioned earlier a good alternative to buying a standing calf raise machine would be to use a calf raise block if you already have a squat rack or smith machine.
You can also use a weighted vest and just do calf raises on the stairs! Why not find the best weighted workout vest for yourself as it can be used for plenty of exercises. We understand that a calf raises machine is not the cheapest, so this would be great option.
There is also an alternative to a seated calf machine but it’s probably not as comfortable or effective. This guide will show you how to perform a barbell seated calf raise, it’ll require you to have a weight bench and barbell with weights.
Seated Calf Raise Technique
To ensure you get the most out of the workouts, it all starts with having the correct technique otherwise you can be doing yourself harm rather than good. Below is a step by step process on the correct seated calf raise technique.
- Load the machine with the appropriate weight, we recommend starting light or even no weight just to get the technique right first.
- Sit on the machine placing only your toes and the balls of your feet on the platform.
- Lower the lever pads onto your lower thighs, don’t have it too tight or too loose.
- Lift the weight up slightly so you can release the safety bar.
- Lower your heels until your calves are fully stretched out, whilst inhaling simultaneously.
- Raise your heels by pushing up on your toes and the balls of your feet, go as high as possible and hold at the top for about a second. Exhale during this movement.
- Repeat the process until you reach your desired number of reps.