Having bigger calves not only looks good, but also provides improved balance, agility, and better performance in other exercises. However, they are one of the most challenging areas in the body to develop, along with the core and triceps. This is because our calves are already working almost all the time, supporting our body weight whenever we run, jump and walk.
Luckily, there are exercises that you can do to better develop those muscles. Calves workout machines are especially helpful in isolating and developing them. These machines are built differently but operate with the same goal – to put the calf muscles under resistance or load that is heavier than usual which will result in growth.
In this article, we will walk you through the gym machines that can help you raise your calves to their maximum potential in a safe and effective manner. So, read on to find out more.
Standing Calf Raise Machine
Calf raises are one of the most effective exercises for building the calves, and it can be done in several variations such as the dumbbell and barbell raises. The standing calf-raise is a variation of this exercise that targets the gastrocnemius, and this is best done with a standing calf-raise machine.
- The standing calf raise machine is a great tool to achieve progressive overload as it allows you to increase or decrease the weight that you lift for the exercise.
- Standing calf raise machines not only work on the calf muscles but also help strengthen and stabilize the ankles.
- The machine offers more control over your workout by allowing you to raise and lower the weight and the range of motion that you do. This is important in tracking your progress and preventing unnecessary strain to your calves.
- Standing calf-raise machines are generally compact in design so they are perfect for small spaces.
How To Use
First, load the machine with the appropriate weight. If you are a beginner, make sure to begin with a light weight to allow you to focus on proper form and control. Stand on the machine with your toes on a slightly elevated platform and your heels hanging off the end of the platform. Position your shoulders under the shoulder pads. Adjust it according to the correct height.
Keeping your legs straight, lift your heels as high as you can, flexing your calves. Exhale as you do this motion. Pause and hold this position briefly then slowly lower yourself, back to the starting position.
Standing Calf Raise Machine Recommendation
Powertec Fitness’ Levergym Squat/Calf is probably one of the best calf-raise machines on the market today. It is perfect for a comprehensive leg workout as it is designed for performing both calf raises and squats.
This unit is constructed to handle heavy use and allows you to load up to 500 pounds of weight. It features a heavy gauge diamond foot plate that is set at an optimal 20-degree angle to provide the best possible development of your leg muscles while taking the stress off your lower back and knees. The shoulder pads are made with the high-quality materials to give maximum support to your back and shoulders as you lift even the heaviest load.
The Levergym Squat/Calf machine offers the benefits of two fantastic exercises in one quality equipment. Add this to your regular gym routine and you’re sure to reap consistent benefits for a long time.
Seated Calf Raise Machine
This is a variation of the standard calf-raise machine which, as the name implies, requires users to do the exercise seated. This primarily targets the soleus muscles on your calves, which are responsible for the movement of your foot moving down.
- Similar to the standing calf machine, it is a great tool that allows for progressive overload as you have the option to increase or decrease the load that you work with.
- Seated calf-raise machines do not involve complicated mechanisms so they're easy to learn and perfect even for beginners who want to grow their calves.
- It reduces the risk of getting injured as it gives you control over the weight and range of motion that you do with your raises, depending on your current fitness level.
How to Use
Working a seated calf raise machine is slightly different than the standing calf raise. While seated and with your back straight, place your feet on the platform with your toes pointed forward, and then lower two pads over the tops of your thighs. These pads serve as locks to keep your body, mainly your legs, steady and still throughout the workout.
Next, unlock the weights and begin pushing up, making sure that you squeeze your calves, to perform the exercise. Maintain a straight back throughout the movement to ensure that you are working the correct muscles.
Seated Calf Raise Machine Recommendation
The Body Solid Seated Calf Raise Machine GSCR349 is an impressive machine that is sure to boost calf muscle strength and gain.
It combines a user-friendly ergonomic design with Body Solid’s cutting-edge biomechanical engineering. It features a unique foot platform design that offers the greatest range of motion for deep muscle fiber penetration while eliminating stress and tension on the ball of the foot.
The GSCR349 is constructed with 11-gauge steel and super-durable thick padding to carry the heaviest loads and withstand even heavy commercial use while offering the utmost comfort to the users.
If you’re considering getting a seated calf raise machine for your gym, this is definitely worth the investment.
Tibia Dorsal Calf Raise Machine
Do not be fooled by the looks of this machine. Despite its small size, it is powerful and effective machine that targets not only the tibia and dorsi, but also the calves, offering a more comprehensive leg workout. It provides a great supplemental exercise for achieving balanced growth and development of the lower leg muscles while reducing the pressure on your spine.
- This has the smallest footprint among the calf workout machines in this list, making it perfect for people who have limited gym spaces. It is also portable so you can easily move it around whenever needed.
- This calf machine also gives you the option to adjust your exercise's intensity by changing the weight plates, making it ideal for achieving progressive overload.
How To Use
Using this machine is as simple as it looks. First, load the machine with the right weight for you then sit on either a chair or bench. Slide your feet between the platform and the pad above it, your toes pointing to the front and down. Once in position, start pushing down with your heels to lift the weight.
This exercise can also be done while standing which will require you to do one calf at a time.
Tibia Dorsal Calf Raise Machine Recommendation
A part of their lineup of quality fitness products, Titan Fitness’ Tibia Dorsal Calf Machine ensures a comprehensive leg workout routine that will target your tibialis as well as your calves.
It is made with 11-gauge steel to ensure years of reliable and effective use and is black-powder coated to help prevent early damage, rust and scuffs, enabling it to maintain its slick appearance for years.
With just a length of 35.5 inches, a height of 12 inches and a depth of 15 inches, this unimposing machine makes for a perfect addition to your gym without taking too much space.
Leg Press (Leg Press Calf Raise)
The leg press calf raise is a variation of the calf raise that allows you to add more weight to the exercise. To perform it, you will need access to one of the most popular pieces of gym equipment – the leg press.
The leg press machine is a great tool for strengthening the lower body. It allows for multiple foot placement options that helps you to target different muscles in your legs, including your calves.
- Leg press machines are made with a catch that stops the machine at a distance to prevent any accidents.
- It allows you to engage several different muscle groups in your legs simply by altering your foot position on the platform. This is especially helpful for overcoming imbalances.
- Leg press machines promote a controlled movement pattern, making it a safe and great option for beginners who might be a little intimidated by free-weight exercises.
How to Use
To work your calves, you will have to perform the leg press differently from how it is usually done.
Put your toes and feet's balls down low on the leg press footplate. While in this position, extend your legs forward to lift the platform. Then, lower the weight until you feel a stretch in your calves. Squeeze your calves as hard as you can and push through the balls of your feet. Take a brief pause before starting the following rep.
You can also target your calves differently by changing your foot position. Pointing your toes inward will work your outer calf, while your inner calves can be targeted by pointing your toes outward.
Leg Press Recommendation
TKO's Leg Press Machine 908LP will make sure that you hit your personal workout goals, and that you build and maintain muscle.
Designed to handle up to 400 lbs of weight and made with a solid 2x4 heavy gauge steel, this leg press is sure to withstand heavy usage for a long time, even in a commercial setting. It also features stainless steel horns for your weight plates that make this machine look, feel, and work like you need it to.
Additionally, TKO designed this leg press with the user's comfort in mind with its comfortable padding, large footplate and durable construction so you can enjoy your workouts worry-free.
Building strong and big calves provide many benefits and whether you are in it for better balance, improved agility or the looks, calves workout machines are the way to go. Now that you have a better understanding of each type of equipment and some recommendations on the best ones available out there, it's time to start working on those calves.
Pair these with the best stairs workout machines and you sure are on your way to achieving your fitness goals.
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