Rotary calf extension
In order to perform this great calf exercise you will have to use rotary calf machine. Rotary calf extension (also known as lever seated calf extension) is a single joint exercise which works the back of the lower leg. Resistance is provided by a weight stack which enables the workload to be adjusted to suit each type of user. Rotary calf extension is performed from a sitting position, with the feet positioned on a lever platform, by flexing and extending the ankles.
Exercise Instructions for Rotary Calf Extension
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Adjust the seat to allow a slightly bent knee position. Place the balls of your feet on the bottom of the platform with your heels hanging off the edge. The toes should be near the top of the footplate. Keep your back flat and your hips down against the pad. Grasp handles to sides and straighten your knees.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): To begin the exercise press the platform forward and down (away from you) with the balls of your feet as far as possible without moving the knees. In other words, push lever by extending ankles as far as possible. Hold the fully contracted position for a count of two, then slowly lower your heels as far as they will go. In other words, return by bending ankles until calves are stretched.
Exercise Key Points to Remember
- Position seat to allow full range of motion (reposition stance if feet slip).
- Be especially careful to keep the knee position stable during the exercise.
- This is a single joint exercise of the ankles. Avoid using your hips and knees to move the weight stack.
- Press the balls of your feet (plantar flex) into the platform by moving only at the ankles.
- Stretch your calves fully at the bottom of the movement.
- Keep your legs straight (but not locked) throughout the movement.
Rotary calf extension main advantages
- Footplate rotates through a natural arc of movement for the ankle for effective training of the calf muscles.
- The extended leg position activates both gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.
- The seated position with back support eliminates spinal compression. Furthermore, it also provides a good position if you prefer unilateral training.
Muscles Engaged in Rotary Calf Press
This exercise uses the gastrocnemius (mainly) and soleus (in a lesser degree) to plantar flex the ankle joint. So if you keep your legs fairly straight the exercise targets the gastrocnemius and uses the soleus as an assisting muscle.
- Main muscles: gastrocnemius
- Secondary muscles (synergists): soleus
- Antagonists and stabilizers: no significant stabilizers
You can work the calf muscles in a functionally different way by varying your foot placement on the platform, slightly turning your toes in or out. You may also perform this exercise with one leg to add intensity and force the muscles to work to maintain balance.
Besides calf extension you can perform calf raise, so the chances are good that you can give your calves a solid workout.
- Machine standing calf raise
- Seated calf raise
- Calf raise on leg press machine
- Smith-machine standing calf raise
- Donkey calf raise
- Standing dumbbell calf raise
- Standing barbell calf raise
Closing Thoughts About Rotary Calf Extension
You’ll find plenty of exercises that involve the calves. The most common exercise that targets the major calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and the soleus) is the calf raise, while your alternatives include calf extensions. Calf extensions are similar to leg presses, but instead of pushing the resistance plate with your legs, you flex your ankles and push the plate with the balls of your feet.
Rotary calf machine uses special technology to focus movement through the ankle, increasing the exercises range of motion and intensifying the workload on the calf muscles. It has many linear seat adjustments for varying leg lengths and to accommodate a variety of body sizes and starting positions. Designed with a unique ‘seated’ user position, rotary calf machine minimizes spinal compression by directing force through the hip rather than the shoulders. We recommend using Technogym rotary calf machine.