As simple as it may seem, the seat calf strengthens the muscles that not only make you a better runner, but also support basic functions like walking and climbing stairs.
“Our calves are one of the constantly active muscles for movement and balance,” explains exercise physiologist John Ford, ACSM. “The stronger and conditioned your calves are,” says Ford, “the more effective you’ll be in other exercises, including running, jumping, and cycling.”
In other words, strong calves lead to a stronger, more efficient body.
How to do a seated calf raise
- Sit up straight on a bench or chair with your feet flat on the floor, holding two heavy dumbbells above your knees.
- Keeping your core engaged, lift your heels off the floor as high as possible.
- Slowly lower your heels to the floor and repeat.
Bonus Tip: You don’t need a seated calf raise machine to do the exercise. It’s easy to do calf raises with dumbbells, a barbell and resistance bands, or even household items like jugs or books.
How to make seated calf raises easier
Ford suggests performing the exercise with less weight or using a resistance band.
Place the band on your upper legs with the ends secured under your toes. Place your hands on the band to make sure it stays in place while you exercise.
How to make seated calf raises harder
To give your muscles more work, simply add more weight. You can also elevate the soles of your feet with a block to increase your range of motion.
Seated Calf Variations
While seated, you can point your toes inward or outward to target different calf muscles (the soleus and the gastrocnemius).
Seated calf raises with your toes pointing toward each other and target the outer calves.
Seated calf raises with your toes pointing together target the inner calves.