If you don’t have access to a seated calf raise machine in your gym but do have access to a lying leg curl machine, you can use it to do an excellent version of the seated calf raise. It’s most useful when your lying leg curl machine pad is a single straight padded bar rather than separate roller pads.
Move the pad up as high as you can on the settings. Set a calf block directly under the pad – if you don’t have a calf block, you can use two dumbells lined up so that you can set your feet on the dumbell handles (hex dumbells, not round ones work best).
Sit on the end of the bench, set the balls of your feet on the calf block. Now slides your knees under the pad and shift around until the pad is firmly on your knees/lower thigh area. Do the calf raise from there.
The movement is exactly the same and actually has some advantages over the actual seated calf raise machines.
1.You can set the weight down at the end of the set and get out from under it. Most seated calf machines force you to finish the set at the TOP of the movement – great if you’ve got a spotter but if you don’t, you can push to full failure because you have to worry about getting the support thing back under the weight. Not fun when you’re really fatigued.
2.The backwards arc of the pad gives a better contraction on the calves.
3.Since leg curls machines are generally selectorized (with the pins), you can do drop sets and add sets, changing weights very easily.
4.These can be done one leg at a time for negatives (two legs up, one leg down) or for using more weight. You can help with the other leg to get to the full contraction point and adjust for the strength curve of the calf muscle.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.