Struggling with your calf development? I know I have for years!
Always struggling to add even millimetres of size to the stubborn area. I was forever stacking the plates onto the machines and throwing half reps in here and there, never focusing on proper form or technique, which definitely hinders your gains!
The seated calf raise is a fundamental exercise in any calf training workout, and when executed effectively, can leave you struggling to walk for a number of days at least.
Starting Position – Eccentric Contraction
As you can see in the image, the starting position should exercise complete ankle dorsiflexion.
This means that the balls of your feet should be in contact with the platform, whilst letting your heel drop as far as possible, causing tension on your tibialis anterior (shin).
When you can see and feel the muscle contracting, this is when you know that you are coming down far enough, this is known as the eccentric contraction.
Finishing Position – Concentric Contraction
As seen in the image, this is the finishing position of the exercise.
Opposite to the starting position, this requires complete plantar flexion, ensuring that the gastrocnemius is fully contracted.
To assist with this, try and focus on your big toe, pushing as high and as far onto that toe as possible.
Tempo is incredibly important when it comes to training and hypertrophy. This ensures that momentum is taken completely out of the equation, and that the muscles you are intending to train are being targeted throughout the movement.
For this exercise, try to maintain a 1-2-1-2 tempo. This means that you should spend 1 second at the starting position, then two seconds concentrically contracting to the finishing position. Then 1 second is spent at the finishing position, ensuring that you squeeze, then another two seconds for the eccentric contraction, as you lower back down to the starting position.
Here is a short video of the exercise in motion, showing full reps and tempo: