Max-OT Exercises – Which Ones and Why – Calves

The calf is a somewhat stubborn muscle mainly because it is used so often every day through normal activity. Most people don’t train their calves with the same intensity they train other “ego” muscles. Nothing looks more silly than big quads and small calves. Make it a point to train your calves with the same intensity that you train other major muscle groups because in the same token, nothing looks better than a proportional set of muscular calves.

Standing Calf Raises

This is one of the best overall calf exercises. The primary muscles involved are the calf muscles. Little if any significant secondary muscle involvement.


The Standing Calf machine allows you to train calves in a standing position. You step on to an elevated block and bring your shoulders into two padded arms that are attached to weights via a leaver arm. The machines are typically selectorized, but there are plate loaded versions as well. Most all variations of Standing Calf machines offer the same movement and overload to the calves.

Step on to the block or foot stand with the balls of your feet just behind your toes. You then extend your calves (as if you were standing on your toes to see over a crowd) and slowly lower your heel until your calves are in the fully stretched position.

When doing standing calf raises make sure your body is kept straight through the entire movement. Do not rock your hips forward or backward during the movement.

Max-OT Tip:
When training calves it’s very important to fully contract and fully stretch the muscles during each rep.


Seated Calf Raises

The Seated Calf raises are an excellent calf exercise. The primary muscles involved are the calf muscles and primarily the soleous muscle. Little if any significant secondary muscle involvement.


In a Seated Calf Raise machine place the padded bar over the top of your knees. Place the ball of your feet on the foot pad. Raise and lower the weight slowly. Fully contract your calves at the top of the movement and fully stretch your calves at the bottom of the movement.

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