Seated vs Standing Calf Raise: Which Is More Effective?

Struggling to choose between seated vs standing calf raise? Our latest blog unravels this fitness enigma. We dissect the pros and cons of standing vs seated calf raises, guiding you to make informed decisions for effective muscle growth. Because, choosing the right calf workout shouldn't feel like an Achilles' heel, right?

So which are better: seated or standing caif raise? The seated vs standing calf raise debate boils down to muscle targeting. Seated raises focus more on the soleus muscle, deep within your calf. In contrast, standing raises target the gastrocnemius, the larger, visible calf muscle. Knowing the difference between seated and standing calf raises enables a more focused and efficient workout.

seated vs standing calf raise

A Tale of Lower Leg Love: What Is Seated Calf Raise?

Seated calf raises are a lower body exercise designed to strengthen and tone the calf muscles, especially the soleus, which is a deeper muscle beneath the larger, visible gastrocnemius. 

To perform a seated calf raise, you begin by sitting on a calf raise machine or bench with weights on your knees and feet flat on the platform. You then raise your heels as high as possible, squeezing your calf muscles at the top of the movement, before slowly lowering your heels back to the starting position. 

This isolation exercise allows you to put targeted stress on your calf muscles, enhancing muscle growth, strength, and endurance. Incorporating seated calf raises into your routine can greatly improve your overall leg definition, athletic performance, and lower body stability.

Stand and Deliver: What Is Standing Calf Raise?

Standing calf raises, a popular lower body exercise, primarily target the gastrocnemius, the larger, more visible muscle of the upper calf

The exercise begins with you standing upright, ideally on an elevated surface allowing for full range of motion. Your heels should hang off slightly. You then push through the balls of both feet to raise your body upward, contracting your calf muscles at the top. Slowly lower yourself back down to complete the movement. 

Standing calf raises can be performed with body weight alone, or with added weights for increased resistance. This exercise not only strengthens and defines your calves but also enhances overall balance, stability, and athletic performance.

female athlete using seated calf machine

The Showdown: Difference Between Seated and Standing Calf Raises

The difference between seated and standing calf raises largely lies in the specific muscles they target within the calves. Understanding the seated vs standing calf raise dynamic can provide insight into which exercise to include in your routine based on your unique fitness goals.

1. Targeted Muscles

The fundamental distinction between seated and standing calf raises lies in the specific calf muscles they target. Standing calf raises primarily engage the gastrocnemius, the larger, more visible calf muscle. In contrast, seated calf raises target the soleus muscle, a deeper muscle beneath the gastrocnemius.

2. Range of Motion

The exercises differ in the posture and range of motion as well. Standing calf raises are performed upright, which allows a full range of motion. However, seated calf raises involve a bent-knee position, causing a slightly restricted range of motion but providing more focused stress on the soleus muscle.

3. Athletic Impact

Both exercises have distinct impacts on athletic performance. The standing calf raise enhances overall balance, stability, and calf muscle definition, beneficial for sports requiring short, powerful bursts of speed. On the other hand, seated calf raises improve the endurance of the soleus muscle, a boon for athletes involved in long-duration sports or activities.

4. Workout Integration

You can choose between seated or standing calf raises based on your specific fitness goals. However, integrating both exercises into your regimen will ensure a comprehensive calf workout, enhancing overall muscular strength and definition in your lower legs.

athlete using standing calf machine

Sitting Pretty: Pros and Cons of Seated Calf Raise Training


  • Targets the soleus muscle, which aids endurance and stability.

  • Ideal for those with balance issues as it's performed sitting down.

  • Easy to add weight for increased resistance.


  • Limited engagement of the gastrocnemius.

  • Less challenging for balance and coordination compared to standing raises.

  • Slightly restricted range of motion due to bent-knee position.

Up With the Lark: Pros and Cons of Standing Calf Raise Training


  • Effectively works the gastrocnemius, promoting visible calf muscle definition.

  • Enhances overall balance and coordination.

  • Full range of motion, promoting muscle flexibility.


  • Soleus muscle is less targeted.

  • Balance can be challenging for beginners.

  • Risk of straining the lower back if form is incorrect, especially when adding weight.

To Sit or Not to Sit: Brief Comparison of Seated Calf Machine and Standing Calf Machine

As we dive into the world of calf training equipment, let's compare two popular machines: the Seated Calf Raise Machine from Titan Fitness and the Body-Solid Standing Calf Machine

Each machine boasts distinctive features designed to target specific calf muscles and cater to different fitness goals. Our pros and cons analysis will illuminate their unique benefits and potential drawbacks, guiding you in making an informed decision for your calf workouts.

titan fitness seated calf machine


  • Targets the soleus muscle effectively.

  • Adjustable thigh pad accommodates users of varying heights.

  • Diamond-plated footplate and handlebar ensure comfort and grip.

  • Plate holder allows for easy adjustment of resistance levels.


  • Requires manual addition and removal of weight plates, which could interrupt workout flow.

  • Some feedback cites the comfort as lacking, compared to other machines.

body solid standing calf machine


  • Efficiently works the gastrocnemius muscle.

  • 3:1 weight ratio multiplies the selected weight for a more challenging workout with fewer plates.

  • Adjustable height caters to users of different heights.

  • Non-slip foot platforms and thick DuraFirm padding for comfort and safety.


  • Clunky design may be a deal breaker for some

  • Weight ratio could make resistance adjustment less granular than in the seated machine.

athletes doing seated calf raises


Do Seated Calf Raises Make Calves Bigger?

Yes, seated calf raises can contribute to bigger calves. They specifically target the soleus muscle, and with consistent training and increased resistance, this can lead to muscle hypertrophy, hence bigger calves.

Fast or Slow Seated Calf Raises?

Slow seated calf raises are recommended. Performing the exercise slowly and under control ensures proper muscle engagement, reduces the risk of injury, and allows for a fuller range of motion.

The Calf Raise Conclusion: A Standing Ovation or Seated Applause?

In the fitness arena of seated vs standing calf raise, both prove worthy contenders. The choice depends on your specific goals — targeting the soleus or gastrocnemius, or seeking a comprehensive calf workout. Whichever you choose, you're on a sure path to stronger, defined calves and improved athletic performance.

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Have you noticed different results using seated or standing calf raises? Which one do you prefer and why? Are there any unique strategies you've found useful in your calf training? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below to further enrich our fitness community discussion!

Also read:


  • Different Foot Positioning During Calf Training // PubMed:
  • Lower Leg (Calve) Exercises // NTCC:
  • Discovery Unlocks Potential of 'Special' Muscle // University of Houston:
  • Calf raises // David Newman:
  • Effect of calf-raise training // NCBI:

My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships – 105kg division.

I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.

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