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Do Seated Calf Raises Work?

Bob Bessette
Last updated
10 June 2024
seated calf raise
Performing Seated Calf Raises

When you work out with weights on a regular basis, you want to have a symmetrical body where your upper body doesn’t outshine your lower body. For most weightlifters, oftentimes the legs are overlooked and, more often than not, that includes the calf muscles.

I happen to think that large calves are typically as a result of your heredity but that certainly doesn’t mean you can’t still grow large calves over time. That begs the question “How do I grow my calves substantially so that I can attain a symmetrical body?

Well, there are two main muscles when it comes to the calves, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The gastrocnemius muscle is stimulated when you perform a standing calf raise whereas the soleus (which is the larger muscle in volume) is stimulated when you perform a seated calf raise.

There are makeshift alternative methods to perform a seated calf raise but the best way to do so is to use a seated calf raise machine. There are many different machines that you can utilize or purchase but the XMark Model XM-7613 is the one I purchased.

Do seated calf raises work to develop your calves? Well, it is important to include both standing calf raises and seated calf raises in order to develop both the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles in the calves. And yes, seated calf raises done on a regular basis do lead to larger, fuller calf development.

Seated Calf Raise Alternatives to Using a Machine

Seated Calf Raises with Dumbbells

If you don’t own a seated calf raise machine you do have an option (seen below) where you can hold a barbell in each hand and perform the calf raises with the weight resting on each leg.

Seated Calf Raises with Barbell

Another option for seated calf raises is to utilize a weighted Olympic Bar, as seen below, resting on your legs (lap) and performing the calf raises in this manner.

alternative seated calf raise
Seated Calf Raises with
Dumbbells on Legs
alternative calf raise
Seated Calf Raises with
Barbell on Legs

Through the years it has been found that if you combine seated calf raises with standing calf raises, proper calf development can be achieved. So, in a nutshell seated calf raises do work but only if they are done properly and they are done regularly as part of your weightlifting workouts.

If you are interested in the best seated calf raise machine for a home gym, the XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine is the one to check out!