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Calf Questions!



I have a couple questions on calf training.

What would be the differences between using a standing calf machine and a horizontal leg press for calf raises?

By preforming calf raises with feet wide apart, shoulder width, an inch apart, etc. what different part of the calf do they target, if it is even beneficial?

Would holding at the top ROM of a calf raise for over 5 or so seconds be harmful for the knees? When holding when the calf is fully contracted for long periods of time 6-15 seconds be beneficial?

Also, since the gastrocnemius is primarily fast twitch and the soleus is primarily slow twitch, would it be best to train them accordingly (gastroc - low reps, soleus - high reps), what about training gastrocnemius for both fast and slow twitch, same with the soleus?

Thank You.


I prefer the standing with a barbell, another chance to load the spine which is beneficial also REAL world as opposed to the leg press machine.

Vary the stance, also do them unilaterally.

I dont think it would be harmful but not sure holding in that position is that helpfull.

It is good to pause on the negative portion of the calf raise. the calfs have a VERY strong strecth reflex and a 3-5 second pause will aloow that to dissapate then you will have to use REAL muscle tension to preform the movement.

Vary loadas and reps but I would lean toward more heavy low rep high set. Just think they get loaded all day every day with VERY hig volume and minimum resistance.

NP hope it helps.


Phill pretty much answered everything... but you can try them with your toes pointing towards each other, pointing away, and parallel as well.


I've heard that this doesn't do anything except for adding extra stress to the knees...


I'm not sure if you are an athlete or not, but ISO holds in the fully dorsiflexed position is one of the best ways to improve plantar flexion strength, which is a very important characteristic in running, jumping, etc.


This could be true, I'm not sure. Anyone else hear anything?

I used to do it (I dont train my calves anymore) and it helped me build mine.

Right now, the only "training" I do for my calves is when I walk upstairs, I plant the ball of my foot on the edge of the stair, then flex my calf with each setp. Then just stretch them at night.


the "differences" in calf training are related to the knee angle(you canfind some imfo on that on a polequin article on Hamstrings training).

the calf muscle as also the function to aid in the knee movements. so it can be helpfull to mix seated and standing exercize in the calf wo.

an other variable is the inside, outside, neutral foot position (i hope i was clear, my english lack so i dont know how to well describe the foot position).