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The calf muscles are powerful, but it is rather hard to make them big if our genetics is not the best one (like mine). To make them grow, we train our calves with standing and sitting exercises, many times a week, and with various reps.
To not get bored with your calf workout, I would like to show you an efficient exercise called 45 degree donkey leg press calf raises.
Working your calves on the machine has a great benefit compared to standing calf raises. That is, it does not put stress on your spine. It supports your upper and lower back. Hence, if you have problems with your spine or your back, use the seated leg press machine instead of the vertical moves.
Muscles worked with incline donkey calf leg press
It mainly works the two-headed calf muscles (gastrocnemius), but it also has effects on the soleus.
How to do dual calf raises on leg press correctly
- Sit on the machine and place your feet on the platform with shoulder width. Your feet should be parallel. Then, push yourself or the platform up.
- After that, place your feet on the edge of the platform in a way that 2/3 of your toes and soles are on the board, and the rest of your feet lean over. Your knees should be bent a little bit.
- By focusing on the power of your calves, lift your heels. When you reached the maximum muscle contraction, keep that position for a few seconds.
- Then slowly let your heels until your legs are stretched totally. To get the best effect, it is recommended to keep this position for a few seconds as well because the elastic energy in the muscles goes away. So you will have to use the power of the muscles then.
Here is the video tutorial for the leg press calf raise form from a bodybuilding expert.
How to breathe correctly?
When you lift your heels, you exhale, when you let it back, you inhale.
How much weight should you use?
Well, typically, we use the heavier load with fewer reps if we want to develop the muscle mass and lighter resistance for definition. However, calves require more reps 15-30. Use such a weight that you can handle, but hard to perform at the end of the set. You can also do a superset.
Try the single leg version or on the vertical machine!
- Doing it with one foot is a more challenging variation. It requires much more control. But, you may get a lengthier range of motion.
- The vertical machine, because of the gravity, puts a more natural load on your soles.
- Only use the joints of your ankles when you perform the movement and do not use your knees.
- Focus on your calf muscles — no momentum and suspension.
- To perform the exercise correctly and safely, you must wear proper footwear. No slippers!
More tips to gain your calves
- Typically, during calf training, it is recommended to have a higher number of repetitions, about 20 or over. However, the two head calves muscle (gastrocnemius) may react well for heavy weights with low reps (8-12). So, there is no need to always stick to light weights and high reps.
- I think the best is if you combine low reps with heavy weights and high reps with light weights. So, for example, on one day, you make high reps 20-30, but on the next one, you use heavy loads with 8-12 reps.
- If you already have muscle mass in your calves, then you can try other leg positions to focus on the outer or inner part. With the inward-looking feet, the outer part of the calves may be more targeted and vice versa.
- You can do the calf press with one foot. This way, you can focus better on the muscles.
Don’t forget to stretch
Finish your calf training 20-30 minutes static stretching 3-4 times. Stretching not only helps to avoid injury but also supports muscle growth.
What about the seated or standing calf press machine?
Well, that equipment is designed to target the muscles the best way via toe press. So, without a doubt, it is an excellent alternative. But, I think to get the maximum muscle and strength development, the best is if you do more types of exercises. This way, you can target every part of your lower legs. You can check out the best calf raise machines here.
If you have chicken lower legs mine, you should attack them with various exercises, and one of the best is leg press calf raise for sure. Include it in your calves workout, and you will see how beneficial it is.