7 Best Calf Machines in 2024

When you're bulking, there is always one tough nut to crack. Mostly, it is the calf – a pair of muscles adjoining your ankles and knees. You can only imagine how important it's for running, jumping, and overall stability. Some people want to see skinny legs grow to generate more power or simply pull off gym shorts.

One terrific piece of equipment that can help you is the calf machine. We've reviewed dozens of them and selected the ultimate best calf machines for you.

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Titan Seated Calf Raise Machine.


The calf machine is built using 2”x3” 11-gauge strong steel, powder-coated for corrosion resistance. Titan introduced this excellent matte-black finish in V2 of all conditioning lineups. Wide floor stabilizers and rubber end caps prop the robust frame.

7 Best Calf Machines

Top 7 Best Calf Machines Reviewed

ProductTotalDurabilityPortabilityAdjustabilityVersatilityValue for Money
Titan49.510109.51010
Valor48.5109.5109.59.5
GSCR34947.5101099.59
GSCL36046.5108.59.5108.5
XMark46.59.59.58.5910
TDS459.589108.5
Deltech44.58.5108810
Titan Seated Calf Raise Machine

Titan Fitness continues to improve its products based on customer feedback. The value, construction, and features of this calf machine are all one step above what the company usually delivers.

  • Product Dimensions: 48” L x 23.5” W x 39.5” H
  • Product Weight: 60 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 550 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 2”
  • Weight Post Length: 9.5”
  • Material: Steel, HeftyGrip Vinyl
  • Knee Pad Height: 28.25”-32”
  • Warranty: 1 year on frame and all parts

The calf machine is built using 2”x3” 11-gauge strong steel, powder-coated for corrosion resistance. Titan introduced this excellent matte-black finish in V2 of all conditioning lineups. Wide floor stabilizers and rubber end caps prop the robust frame.

As you sit on the plush 10”x13” seat, knee rollers will be available to adjust. We noticed the spring-loaded knob on horizontal adjustments is much smoother than the height-controlling screw. Regardless, set the pad according to your height for comfort and safety.

Performing Titan Seated Calf Raise Machine

Phot by @adapa011

Place the ball of your feet on secure diamond-plated braces, leaving heels free for the exercise. Hopefully, you’ve already logged Olympic plates on its dual-weight post sleeves. You can grip the handle or edges of the seat to focus on the lower body. Technically, you can carry out standing calf raises by holding the weight post in a cable press-down position. However, it's not the intended use.

It's, without a doubt, the best calf raise machine. You’ll receive step-by-step instructions to put it together. Free shipping, a one-year warranty, and credit sales are beneficial aspects of purchasing directly through the website.

49.5Expert Score

It's, without a doubt, the best calf raise machine. You’ll receive step-by-step instructions to put it together. Free shipping, a one-year warranty, and credit sales are beneficial aspects of purchasing directly through the website.

Durability:
10
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
9.5
Versatility:
10
Value for Money:
10

Positives:

  • Gym-quality built, affordable and reliable

  • 550 lbs of amazing load capacity 

  • Long-lasting powder coat finish

Could be better:

  • A substandard one-year warranty

Valor Fitness CC-5 Calf Machine

Valor is a well-reputed brand in cardio and strength training spheres. It makes simple and sturdy home gym equipment, although the historical struggle in shipping immaculate packages upholds to the day.

  • Product Dimensions: 51.25” L x 25” W x 36” H
  • Product Weight: 80 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 2”
  • Weight Post Length: 11.5”
  • Material: Steel, Vinyl
  • Knee Pad Height: 36” - 41”
  • Warranty: 3 years on frame, 2 years on padding, 1 year on popper pin

The CC-5 seated calf raise machine uses 12-gauge steel for dependable performance. You’ll notice an angled theme. The seat pad is wide and tapered from the front. Slanted footplates boast diamond imprints for better traction. Plastic domes attached to dual sleeves allow a seamless loading and unloading of weights. Stabilizers’ end caps try to prevent stubbed toes in the same fashion. They are raw metal, not rubber-tipped, to ward off scratches. Still, the side-to-side shaking is minimum.

There are plenty of adjustments. Instead of rollers, thick pads only accent the base of the knee bar. It makes for a more practical design. Two grab bars pop up for each of your hands. As a ballpark estimate, five up/down and six fore/aft positions cater to a vast range of users: 5ft to 6.6ft.

The biggest callout with Valor is the shipping and packaging quality. However, the customer support and warranty are helpful.

48.5Expert Score

The CC-5 seated calf raise machine uses 12-gauge steel for dependable performance. You’ll notice an angled theme. The seat pad is wide and tapered from the front.

Durability:
10
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
10
Versatility:
9.5
Value for Money:
9.5

Positives:

  • Double handlebars for easy grip

  • Zero wobbles and shaking

  • Lengthy sleeves can accommodate 8 x 45 lb bumpers with collars

Could be better:

  • Flat pads are less comfy than knee rollers

Body-Solid GSCR349 Calf Gym Machine

Body-Solid carries over 20 years of experience. It offers an array of cardiovascular products, weight plates, dumbbells, kettlebells, and so on – all commercial-rated and lifetime guaranteed.

  • Product Dimensions: 47” L x 20” W x 39” H
  • Product Weight: 95 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 1”
  • Weight Post Length: Not Given
  • Material: Steel, DuraFirm
  • Knee Pad Height: Not Given
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame and all parts

GSCR349 is constructed with industrial-grade tensile strength. It relies on a cantilever design, which enables a 3:1 weight ratio. Meanwhile, the amount loaded will impart three times as much tension. Body-Solid rates its standard-sized weight post for 300 lbs max. No user capacity is listed! In addition, you'll have to buy an 8" adapter to log Oly plates. You might expect such a little gizmo complimentary at this price point. So it cuts down a few value points.

At 47” by 20”, it’s compact and thus suitable for home gyms. Pillow block bearings under the seat, thick double-stitched DuraFirm pads, contoured hand grips, and rounded off foot platforms bear witness to extra efforts the manufacturer has put in for seamless movement under heavy-duty use.

Another avenue where Body-Solid takes an unassailable lead is lifetime in-home support. The commercial warranty of these best machines for calves development states as follows: infinite coverage on the frame, three years on movable hardware, and one year on padding.

47.5Expert Score

GSCR349 is constructed with industrial-grade tensile strength. It relies on a cantilever design, which enables a 3:1 weight ratio. Meanwhile, the amount loaded will impart three times as much tension.

Durability:
10
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
9
Versatility:
9.5
Value for Money:
9

Positives:

  • Lifetime warranty on the frame

  • Sealed block and ball bearings for friction-free movement

  • Portable and compact footprint: 47” x 20”

Could be better:

  • Olympic adapter sleeves not included

Body-Solid GSCL360 Leverage Squat/Calf Machine

If you’ve embraced explosive leg days in circuit training, squats and calf raises aren’t foreign to you. This ingenious leverage machine is designed to eliminate risks and elevate the benefits of these key exercises.

  • Product Dimensions: 62” L x 43” W x 56” H
  • Product Weight: 170 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 800 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 2”
  • Weight Post Length: 9”
  • Material: Steel, DuraFirm
  • Knee Pad Height: Not Applicable
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame and all parts

In contrast to the research hypothesis, squat machines came out better and safer than barbells. It’s because you have a guided path and an inclined footrest to lower the body.

For example, a 20⁰ pitch angle on this combo machine activates your glutes and hammies as much as your quads. Also, the weight is securely distributed on the shoulders and back, foam-padded for comfort. Spring locks and hand grips are ideally positioned within arm’s reach. The overall height between foot platforms and upper pads is 48”. So almost everybody can get under and start crushing the workout.

Performing Body-Solid GSCL360 Leverage Squat/Calf Machine

Switching to calf raises, place your feet on a solid beam bordering the footplate. It’s specially coated, rounded, and raised for maximum grip and range of motion. One final feature worth mentioning is the inclusion of storage horns. You can keep weights close for an instant change. The signature lifetime warranty and 800 lb capacity foretell the quality of these standing calf exercises machines. However, the length of sleeves will max out much earlier, even if you're using 28mm iron plates.

46.5Expert Score

If you’ve embraced explosive leg days in circuit training, squats and calf raises aren’t foreign to you. This ingenious leverage machine is designed to eliminate risks and elevate the benefits of these key exercises.

Durability:
10
Portability:
8.5
Adjustability:
9.5
Versatility:
10
Value for Money:
8.5

Positives:

  • Versatile use case: squats, calves, shrugs

  • Weight storage horns come in handy

  • Ergonomic diamond-plated footrest and rounded calf raise block

Could be better:

  • Heavy and cumbersome, difficult to move

  • Quite expensive

XMark Seated Calf Raise Machine

The Louisiana-based fitness brand has been in touch with the home gym market for decades. It uses this vast experience in reducing cost and variation. Thus, all Strength Series products are backed for a lifetime.

  • Product Dimensions: 47.5” L x 30.5” W x 38.75” H
  • Product Weight: 80 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 450 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 1” and 2”
  • Weight Post Length: Not Given
  • Material: Steel, Vinyl
  • Knee Pad Height: Not Given
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, 1 year on hardware and popper pins

The XMark calf machine for home has definitely left a mark (although not on floors, thanks to anti-skid plastic feet). It utilizes top-grade materials comparable to Titan and Body-Solid. Flaunting an 11-gauge 2”x3” tubular frame, it miraculously keeps prices low. You’ll also find sleeve adapters for 2” Olympic plates. However, they’re needlessly long and narrow. Your 50mm spring clamps won’t fit snugly.

Ultra-thick Duracast Vinyl looks after you. The seat sits 20” above the ground; knee pads are adjustable. Still, above 6ft folks may face some difficulty getting under the pads, as they only have four-point vertical adjustment. On the upside, these pads swivel as you tiptoe, not digging into your thighs.

Remember, the lifetime warranty only extends to the frame. Wear items, including padding and paint, aren’t covered. To sum up, it’s a bittersweet symphony letting you get started with whatever equipment you already own but, at the same time, posing severe ergonomic restrictions.

46.5Expert Score

The XMark calf machine for home has definitely left a mark (although not on floors, thanks to anti-skid plastic feet). It utilizes top-grade materials comparable to Titan and Body-Solid.

Durability:
9.5
Portability:
9.5
Adjustability:
8.5
Versatility:
9
Value for Money:
10

Positives:

  • 3” thick, double-stitched Duracast cushioning

  • Swiveling pads stay gentle on your thighs

  • It goes with 1" and 2" weight plates

Could be better:

  • Adjustments may fall short for some users

  • The sleeve adapter isn't appropriately sized

TDS Leverage Calf & Squat Machine

Besides squat assist and calf exercise machines, TDS has another cash cow in the shape of the deltoid and shoulder machine. Hence, the involvement with lever settings is expected to be perfect.

  • Product Dimensions: 58” L x 48” W x 60” H
  • Product Weight: 210 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 1000 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 1” and 2”
  • Weight Post Length: 12”
  • Material: Steel, Deluxe Padding
  • Knee Pad Height: Not Applicable

TDS leverage machine is a contender of Body-Solid GSCL360. It plunges into the ground with a bigger and more versatile weight limit.

You'll hardly find a reputable standing calf stimulator that indiscriminately supports your standard and Olympic plates. The weight post at TDS isn't angled up, thus susceptible to bending downwards. Use screw-on or spin-lock collars because spring clamps rattle loose at sleeve adaptors. However, the little movement in the weight arm is intentional and engineered with pillow block bearings at the back – a powerful durability booster but a safety compromiser.

Keep the safety pin close and insert it quickly to bail out. Spare storage pegs and secure footplates are necessary add-ons. Contoured 4” thick pads work as a massager to your back and shoulder. You can perform squats, shoulder shrugs, leg presses, and calf raises. The squared tube is tougher on feet compared to round blocks.

The Amazon listing is silent on the warranty. However, it ships from New York Barbell, hinting towards possible lifetime support on the TDS brand name.

45Expert Score

TDS leverage machine is a contender of Body-Solid GSCL360. It plunges into the ground with a bigger and more versatile weight limit.

Durability:
9.5
Portability:
8
Adjustability:
9
Versatility:
10
Value for Money:
8.5

Positives:

  • Rare 1000 lb capacity and 1” convertible weight post

  • Anatomically contoured back and shoulder pads

  • Multiple safety notches to enter and exit the machine

Could be better:

  • Lever weight arms swing under heavy load

  • Boxy calf raise block may be painful in long-term use

Deltech Fitness DF805 Seated Calf Machine

If you think quality, durability, and affordability don't go hand in hand, browse Deltech's store. It's full of such products, ranging from power racks and Smith machines to various leg exercisers.

  • Product Dimensions: 48.5” L x 24” W x 31.5” H
  • Product Weight: 66 lb
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lb
  • Weight Post Diameter: 1” and 2”
  • Weight Post Length: 11.5”
  • Material: Steel, Vinyl
  • Knee Pad Height: 31.5” max
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, one year on parts

DF-805 is an affordable luxury, finished with a shining zinc coat. It costs considerably less than the XMark, Valor, and Body-Solid counterparts. The difference in construction and stability is also visible.

It attaches a single standard-sized weight post. That would be sufficient for most people even though the Olympic adapter measures only 7", yielding at two 45 lb bumpers. The only way to test its 500 lb limit is by using hundos. The seat and leg pads don't squish easily. On the other hand, the rubber strip on the foot ledge doesn't show the same adhesion. Four rubber shoes try their best to stop the frame from wobbling. The seven-point adjustability is only limited to vertical movement. You can't push knee cushions further apart from you.

Due to a supercharged warranty, Deltech is ranked close to gym machines for calves. A colorful, detailed manual accompanies the delivery, along with all required tools. A video of the same further simplifies the assembly process.

44.5Expert Score

DF-805 is an affordable luxury, finished with a shining zinc coat. It costs considerably less than the XMark, Valor, and Body-Solid counterparts. The difference in construction and stability is also visible.

Durability:
8.5
Portability:
10
Adjustability:
8
Versatility:
8
Value for Money:
10

Positives:

  • Lifetime workmanship guarantee of the frame

  • The slanted footplate activates the inner calves

  • Hassle-free, easy-to-follow assembly

Could be better:

  • Rubber-coated footplate is less secure than diamond imprints

  • Knee pads are only one-way adjustable

What is a calf machine?

Calf workout machines are specialty lifting equipment used for plantar flexion or, as commonly called, calf raises. You can top off a scathing lower-body workout with them or incorporate them into your compound exercise repertoire.

Types of Calf Machines

There are two general types: seated and standing.

1. seated calf raise machine

A seated calf raise machine will include a seat, launch handle, knee pads, and a weight post. They're preferred in home gyms due to their portable size and lower price tag.

Using Seated Calf Raise Machine

2. standing calf machine

A standing calf machine is comparatively more expensive and giant. It doubles for squats. A large foot cradle, calf block, and shoulder pads are among the prominent characteristics.

Using Standing Calf Machine

Muscles Worked

It obviously works up your calf muscles, although the functional improvement in the Achilles tendon and feet may be seen. Human calves sit behind the shin bone, comprising two muscles: gastrocs and soleus.

  • Gastrocnemius is a two-headed muscle that connects the knee and ankle joints. It's the bulk of calves making an outline.
  • Soleus is a flat muscle that sits deeper and adjoins gastrocs near your lower legs' tibia and fibula bones.

Both muscles act together to help you run, jump, and flex your feet. A lot of biomechanical designs treat them as one, named triceps surae. However, it's a flawed approach, given the muscle activation. Even median and lateral heads of gastroc record variable EMG. In short, calves are tricky, but blaming genetics or hopping on #teamnocalves bandwagons isn't helpful either.

Standing calf raises concentrate the activity on the outer show muscles, whereas bent knees bring the soleus into action. Thus, a combination would be suitable to shore up the aesthetics and endurance of your calf.

Alternatives

You can do calf raises without additional weights or free weights in both hands as you dance on your toes. A squat rack can be very resourceful for standing mode. As far as seated calf raises are concerned, any weight bench will do as long as you have dumbbells or a barbell to press on your thighs. Lifters can switch to leg press calf raises as well.

During these shortcuts, quads are quick to help calves cheat and avoid exertion. When handing out the task to the best calf machine, your feet and stabilizers are locked, isolating these moochers.

Alternative Variant of Training

What are the benefits of calf machines?

The best calf raise machine will definitely turn targeted areas into thick meat slabs. Muscle fibers grew in the entirety of the calf following an eight-week isometric regimented plan. The same study recommended low-load, high-rep training.

Besides muscle strength and mass growth, you can expect to carry over a multitude of benefits to mundane and athletic aspects of your life. Some are discussed below.

1. Ankle Stability

The calf directly connects to your ankles, the vanguard of all lower-body impacts. The stronger these muscles get, the more awareness and balance ankles have to bring forth.

In addition, gait and postural sway can be manipulated. Ankle push-off generates at least 80% of power during normal walking.

2. Sports Performance

Although the entire posterior chain is responsible for athletic performance, calves and ankles are pivotal. Crushing plate-loaded calf workout machines will allow you to be faster, jump higher, run longer, etc.

Similarly, the enhanced and consistent force output will produce results in explosive movements like squats, snatches, and jerks.

3. Injury Avoidance

Calf muscle strain injuries are common as well as susceptible to reoccurrence. Where resilient calves can push you for success in the sports field, they also save you from injuries.

Seated and standing calf raises are both unparalleled exercises to develop calves. The former is more suitable for those with sensitive backs. It’s been separately investigated and approved in increasing countermovement and squat jumps in basketball players.

Seated Calf Machine in Use

What to consider when choosing the best calf machine?

First of all, settle two main dichotomies, depending on your preferences and circumstances. Do you want a standup or seated calf raise machine? Will you use standard plates with 1" hole dia, Olympic ones, or both?

Based on these filters, you can easily evaluate shortlisted models.

1. Materials Quality

The industry standard of durability is a 2"x3" frame made with 11-gauge steel. The second most significant material is PVC, used for the seat and padding.

2. Weight Capacity

Most gym machines for calves cap off at 500 lbs. It's sufficient for calf raises. Nonetheless, check out the weight post to see whether it can host these many plates.

3. Comfort & Safety

Minimum required features qualify as safety measures, such as stoppers. Extra attention to details in cushions and contours is geared for user comfort.

4. Adjustability

Machines with adjustable height will be more successful in a personal garage or high-traffic gym. Sometimes, it may account for complex assembly.

5. Footprint

Titan’s 48”x23” are ideal dimensions for a calf machine for home. They don’t fold. Also, you want to avoid a base that wobbles or shortens the ROM.

6. Value for Money

Calf machines extend high value as no electronic and fewer mechanical parts are involved. Yet, look for assuring warranties from the seller.

Standing Calf Machine in Use

How to use a calf machine?

Calf machines aren't deceptive in looks – a rare treat in gyms, indeed. They're easy to operate. Adjust the machine's dynamics. Load it fully. Place your toes over the footrest and use heels to dictate the motion.

1. Movement

  • Once you have taken a position with your toes pointing forward (seated or standing), release the safety bar.
  • Dorsiflexion and Plantarflexion: lower your heels and extend the ankles upward sequentially.
  • Control your breath simultaneously. Inhale as your heels move down to the ground and exhale during the later phase.

2. Mistakes

  • Your shins and the ball of the feet must remain inactive throughout the arch. Calves and ankles are the ones to feel stretched.
  • Stacking up excessive weight or quick repetitions can result in injuries. Controlled time under tension matters in resistance training.
  • Challenge the limits in any case. You should feel soreness after the training, as calves are among the quickest muscles to recover.

Performing Calf Machine

FAQ

What are the most effective calf building exercises?

Calf raises are the most well-known and effective way to bulk up skinny legs. Multiple variations of this exercise can be used: seated, standing, single-leg, plate-loaded, etc. One study recorded the same level of muscle activation during calf raises and leg presses. Other demanding sports include running, hiking, swimming, soccer, and basketball.

Are seated calf machines worth it?

Yes – seated calf raise machines efficiently isolate hard-to-target soleus muscles, which run underneath gastroc, and provide a complete range of motion. Therefore, you’ll have fuller and stronger calves.

What is the best way to train calves?

Overloading is the key to growth. A plate-loaded standing or seated calf machine will help you recruit calf muscles. Focus on the essentials of resistance training: workload, ROM, tempo, and rest. Diet and sleep are equally critical for hormone regulation and protein synthesis post-workout.

Conclusion

Calf muscles are tricky yet important to develop. They’re made up of gastrocs and soleus, resembling burger buns and ground meat patties. Titan Seated, or any of the best calf machines for that purpose, will let you firm them up.

What is your leg day workout? Share the routine with fellow fitness fanatics.

Also read:

References:

  • A Comparison of Machine versus Free-Weight Squats // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835729/
  • WARRANTY // NEW YORK BARBELL:  https://www.newyorkbarbells.com/warranty.html
  • Calf Muscle // ClevelandClinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/21662-calf-muscle
  • Neuromechanical coupling within the human triceps surae and its consequence on individual force-sharing strategies // JEB: https://journals.biologists.com/jeb/article/221/21/jeb187260/33892
  • Do the anatomical and physiological properties of a muscle determine its adaptive response to different loading protocols? // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186566/
  • Effects of calf muscle conditioning upon ankle proprioception // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458279/
  • Simulation Analysis of Impulsive Ankle Push-Off on the Walking Speed of a Planar Biped Robot // Frontiersin: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbioe.2020.621560/full
  • The Importance of Calf Strength and the BEST Calf Strength Exercises // SportAndSpinalPhysio: https://sportandspinalphysio.com.au/the-importance-of-calf-strength-and-the-best-calf-strength-exercises/
  • The Assessment, Management and Prevention of Calf Muscle Strain Injuries // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8761182/
  • The Influence of Maximum Strength Performance in Seated Calf Raises on Counter Movement Jump // ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/361053137
  • Time Under Tension // NIFS: https://www.nifs.org/blog/time-under-tension-slowing-down-movement-can-speed-up-fitness-results
  • Damage and the repeated bout effect of arm, leg, and trunk muscles induced by eccentric resistance exercises // Wiley Online Library: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/sms.13388
  • Multi- and Single-Joint Resistance Exercises Promote Similar Plantar Flexor Activation in Resistance Trained Men // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7765981/

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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