Leg Press Calf Raise

Foot Placement & Proper Form For Building Calves

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: December 6, 2021

As you probably know, calves are extremely stubborn muscles to grow. Therefore, they require frequent training with heavy weight.

Fortunately, you can save time and load up on weight by doing calf raises on the leg press. This variation is ideal for adding to your leg workout before, after, or between sets on the leg press.

In addition, there are multiple foot placement options on the leg press so you can target the inner or outer part of your calf. Scroll down to learn how to do a leg press calf raise!

Leg Press Calf Raise

What Is A Leg Press Calf Raise?

In case you’re not familiar, calf raises are an exercise where you stand on the balls of your feet then raise and lower your heels to work your calves.

The leg press calf raise is simply a variation that allows you to add extra weight to the exercise. Also, the leg press puts your body in a unique position to target specific parts of the calf muscles.

Leg Press Calf Raise Muscles Worked

Most calf raises are performed in an upright or standing position. This posture is great for targeting the upper part of the calf or the gastrocnemius.

On the other hand, your upper body is bent forward relative to your lower body on the leg press. And this position allows for a slightly greater stretch through the upper calf while lowering the weight.

Leg Press Calf Raise Muscles Worked

Leg Press Calf Raise Foot Position

As with other calf raise exercises, the position of your foot also dictates which part of the calf you work. For example, you can target your outer calf by pointing your toes inward.

Likewise, you can emphasize your inner calf by pointing your toes outward. In this case, widening your stance helps as well.

Or place your feet in a medium-width stance with toes straight ahead to work both the inner and outer calf.

Leg Press Calf Raise Toes In
Leg Press Calf Raise Toes Out
Leg Press Calf Raise Toes Straight

How To Do A Leg Press Calf Raise

To begin the exercise, sit in the leg press machine as you normally would. Then place the balls of your feet low on the platform so your heels hang off.

Next, lift the platform off the safety stops by extending your legs until they are nearly straight. You can leave the safety stops in place as long as you’re tall enough.

Allow your toes to come towards you while keeping your knees slightly bent. Lower the weight until you feel a stretch through your calves.

Now push through the balls of your feet and squeeze your calves as hard as you can. Pause for about one second at the top before beginning another rep.

Repeat for the desired number of reps and lower the platform to the safety stops.

To recap, here are the step-by-step directions:

  1. Place the balls of your feet low on the leg press platform
  2. Lift the platform off of the stops by extending your legs
  3. Lower the weight while keeping your legs relatively straight until you feel a stretch in your calves
  4. Push through the balls of your feet and squeeze your calves as hard as you can
  5. Pause for a second before beginning the next rep
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps and lower the platform onto the safety stops

Leg Press Calf Raise Form

While performing the calf raise, you can bend your knees slightly at the bottom to create more stretch in your calves. Then extend your legs straighter at the top to increase the contraction.

However, it would be best not to push with your upper legs. Otherwise, the larger muscles of the legs take the load off the calves, and they won’t grow.

Leg Press Calf Raise Form Top
Leg Press Calf Raise Form Top

Also, go slow and control the weight. Blasting out fast reps generates momentum and makes it easier on your calves!

Another thing to watch for is where you put the balls of your feet. You should have enough of your foot on the platform that it won’t slip off. But not so much that you limit your range of motion.

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Leg Press Calf Raise Alternative

Don’t sweat it if you don’t have a leg press in your gym. You can similarly target your upper calves with these alternative calf raise exercises.

Donkey Calf Raise

Donkey calf raises put your body in a similar position where you bend forward at the waist while keeping your legs straight.

One major benefit of donkey calf raises is that you don’t need a leg press. Instead, you can do them on a Smith machine or with free weights, as shown below.

Standing Calf Raise

The standing calf raise is a staple exercise for working your upper calves. You can do standing calf raises with a barbell, dumbbells, and a specialized machine.

As a result, this is one of the most versatile calf exercises and one that you can do even with a basic home gym setup. In the video below, I demonstrate standing barbell calf raises.

Smith Machine Calf Raise

Another way to do standing calf raises is on the Smith machine. This is one of my personal favorite calf exercises.

Smith machine calf raises are a great blend of free weights and machines. You have control over your body position, but the movement path is fixed.

My YouTube channel has dozens of videos showing you how to do a variety of bodybuilding exercises. You’ll learn how to target and build specific muscle groups in 90 seconds or less. Click HERE to subscribe, or click on the button below!

Seated Machine Calf Raise

Lastly is a machine calf raise where you sit down but keep your legs relatively straight. These machines are quite common at most larger commercial gyms.

7 Calf Exercises & Techniques For Better Calves

The leg press calf raise is one tool in your toolbox for building bigger calves. But to build truly great calves, you need more than just a few good exercises.

That’s why I put together a list of the best techniques to torture your calves and force them to grow. Click below to learn my top 7 calf exercises and tips for better calves.

With this information, you’re well on your way to building a better body. And if you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of my other content below!

Are 13 Inch Calves Skinny?

See how 13 inch calves measure up compared to averages for women and men. Plus, how to know if you have skinny calves.

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By |December 6, 2021|Workouts|0 Comments
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