What did they test? The researchers compared standing to seated calf raises to explore their effect on calf hypertrophy.
What did they find? Standing calf raises were superior to seated calf-raises for calf hypertrophy.
What does it mean for you? Standing calf raises should be your go-to calf exercise when trying to maximize lower body hypertrophy.
What’s the Problem?
The triceps surae muscle (aka the calves), comprise of the lateral and medial gastrocnemius along with the soleus, and stand as a pivotal force behind our essential movements like walking, running, and jumping. Not just a mover, it also acts as a body stabilizer, influencing our risk of stumbling and falling. Additionally a set of well developed calves are a “must” for a well-rounded lower body for those trying to build an impressive physique. Have I sold the importance of calf musculature enough yet? Yes? Ok, I’ll stop.
The aesthetic role of the calves aside, understanding and optimizing the training for this muscle could have far-reaching implications in sports and clinical settings, benefitting diverse populations, especially those who may be at a greater risk of falling. The calves are also an interesting muscle when looking at their response to training, with some individuals appearing to be particularly resistant to calf growth while others have huge calves despite barely training them
Enter the "standing" and "seated" calf-raise exercises, two of the most common exercises used in order to grow the calves. These exercises target the lateral gastrocnemius, medial gastrocnemius, and soleus allowing, at least in theory, for a complete development of the calf musculature. However, as we have already discussed multiple times, recent studies suggest that the degree of muscle stretch during exercise matters for optimal hypertrophy. Overall, it seems that working a muscle at longer muscle lengths is likely to cause more growth than working a muscle at shorter muscle lengths. Applying this principle to the triceps surae, it's speculated that standing calf-raise training, which stretches the muscle more, might lead to greater muscle growth compared to seated calf-raise training. Despite the common use of these exercises in various studies, no one has directly compared their muscle-building effects.