To perform a Seated Calf raise (not pictured) follow the same heel raise and lowering movements while sitting. Note that when the knee is bent, the gastrocnemius does significantly less work, while the soleus takes over. While both are strong, the soleus has greater endurance, the larger gastrocnemius has great strength capability. Therefore, it can be useful to consider including both seated and standing versions. Placing a weighted bar or dumbbells on the thighs helps to create resistance for additional strengthening.
Other variations of the Calf Raise include turning the toes in or out and/or standing on one leg instead of both to increase resistance.
Many people who try to increase the size of their calves end up overworking these muscles. Because they are already used so often in everyday activities, it is not necessary to target them every day or use heavy weights. Remember that an overworked muscle is a weaker muscle, not a stronger one. A smarter way to train is to work toward staying in good overall condition so that you can continue engaging in the activities you wish to do, and without injury.
Marjie Gilliam is an International Sports Sciences Master certified personal trainer and fitness consultant. She owns Custom Fitness Personal Training Services LLC. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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