Anatomy of the Calf Muscles

The calf is located on the posterior (back) of the lower leg. The calf muscle actually consists of two muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

The gastrocnemius is the bulkier portion of the calf and the larger of the two muscles. It has two origins that attach to the femur. The medial head originates on the medial condyle of the femur, and lateral head originates on the lateral condyle of the femur. The insertion point is the posterior calcaneus via the Achilles tendon. The gastrocnemius plays a role in plantar flexion of the foot and knee flexion.

The soleus muscle is the smaller of the two calf muscles and originates along the soleal line and the upper portion of the posterior portion of the fibula. Like the gastrocnemius, it inserts at the posterior calcaneus via the Achilles tendon. It also plays a role in plantar flexion.


Seated Calf Raises

The seated calf raise places the resistance on the quadriceps, just above the knee in a seated position. A seated calf raise machine can typically be found in any gym.

You will add the appropriate weight and sit with the machine’s pads on top of their thighs. Feet should be shoulder-width apart with toes pointed forward. Heels should be hanging with the balls of the feet pressing into the foot platform on the machine. Press the balls of their feet into the foot platform to slowly raise their heels, squeeze at the top, and then slowly lower back down.

Standing Calf Raises

One of the most basic moves for calf development is the standing calf raise. With hands at the side, toes pointed forward and a straight knee, raise each heel off the ground while pushing through the balls of their feet. Ensure you use control throughout the movement with a slight pause at the top of the contraction.