Standing Calf Lift vs Sitting Calf Lift: Difference, Advantages & Disadvantages

Wondering if standing calf raises or seated calf raises are better for your calf workout? To find out, let’s compare the two exercises: in this article, you’ll learn what the difference is between standing calf raises and seated calf raises, as well as what the advantages and disadvantages of both exercises are.

What is the difference between standing calf raises and seated calf raises?

The main difference between standing calf raises and seated calf raises is the position of the legs. In standing calf raises, the legs are extended, which primarily loads the gastrocnemius. In seated calf raises, on the other hand, the legs are bent at a 90 degree angle, primarily loading the soleus. While both exercises work the calves, depending on the exercise, one part of the calf muscles is used more than the other.

Standing Calf Raise Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantage of standing calf raises is that you can train the gastrocnemius more specifically with this exercise than with seated calf raises. Since this part of the calf muscles is located further out than the soleus, it is visually the most noticeable. The disadvantage of standing calf raises is that they are often deflected by slightly bending the legs instead of extending them, thus taking much of the work away from the calves. In addition, standing calf raises are not as effective at training the soleus as seated calf raises.

Seated Calf Raise Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantage of seated calf raises is that you can train the soleus more specifically with this exercise than with standing calf raises. Although this calf muscle may not seem as dominant as the gastrocnemius at first glance, it makes up a large portion of the calf. The disadvantage of seated calf raises is that you don’t train the gastrocnemius as effectively as with standing calf raises. Also, apart from calf machines, there are fewer exercises for seated calf raises than for standing calf raises (see calf raises on leg press and multi-press, etc).

Conclusion

Which exercise is suitable for your calf training depends on your training plan and the development of your calf muscles. If you have a split training plan with multiple calf exercises, you should ideally do both standing calf raises and seated calf raises. If you have a full body training plan and only one calf exercise, standing calf raises are recommended. Depending on which part of your calf muscles is more prominent (gastrocnemius or soleus), you can focus on the standing calf raise or the seated calf raise.

Did this comparison help you plan your calf workout? Feel free to share your experience in the comments, I’m happy to share with you. If you have more questions about standing calf raises and seated calf raises, you can ask me there too, I’m happy to help!

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