The leg press machine is undoubtedly one of the most effective machines that you can use in the gym if you are looking to build bigger quads because you can really load this machine with lots of weights and push yourself hard.
However it is worth pointing out that you can also use this machine to develop your calf muscles as well, which are often neglected in many leg workouts.
The people that do work these muscles on the back of the legs tend to do standing calf raises because these are generally very effective, particularly if you use a raised platform and carry a barbell or a set of heavy dumbbells at the same time.
The only problem is that you can’t really use a huge amount of weight, like you can on the leg press machine.
So let me explain how you can actually perform this exercise with proper form.
Put Some Weights On The Leg Press Machine
It is always best to start off with some very light weights just to get a feel for the exercise. You can add more weight later on once you are able to do this exercise safely.
Sit On The Machine
Whenever you sit on the leg press machine, you need to do so safely and carefully, ensuring that you don’t accidentally release the safety catches because this will cause the weighted bar to come crashing down on you.
Place Your Toes On The Bottom Of The Platform
Foot placement is very important here because instead of placing your feet high up on the platform, like you would when doing leg presses, you will be placing your feet right at the bottom of the platform (no more than shoulder width apart), with only the front half of your feet resting on the platform.
Drive Through Your Toes
Keeping your toes pointing forwards, you can then drive through your toes to push the platform upwards, release the safety catches, lower your heels to allow the platform to come down slightly and push the platform back up with your toes, repeating for as many reps as necessary. If you are doing this exercise correctly, you should feel your calf muscles being stretched with every repetition.
Targeting Your Inner And Outer Calves
You can perform this exercise with your toes pointing forwards to begin with, but if you want to target your inner and outer calves, you can do so very easily just by pointing your toes inwards or outwards.
The leg press machine is one of the most dangerous machines in the gym because it is very easy to damage your knees and back when doing leg presses with bad form or too much weight. However you need to be even more careful when doing calf raises on this machine.
That’s because with this exercise it is only your toes that are supporting the weight (as opposed to the whole of your feet). So you need to do slow and deliberate reps and ensure that you feet don’t slip off the platform because this will bring it crashing down on you.
It is also important that you don’t lock out your knees with each rep because this will place undue stress on your knees, and could easily result in an injury.
Finally, you may find it easier to place your feet high up on the platform to release it from the safely catches initially, before lowering your feet to the desired position.
Whatever you do, it is important to exercise caution at all times because this is a dangerous exercise. Nevertheless it is still worth doing because when done correctly, it is one of the best exercises for developing your calves.