11 Best Calf Workout Machines: Get the Most Out of Your Exercise Routine

If you’re looking to improve the look and strength of your calves, a calf workout machine may be a valuable addition to your home gym.

Or for your gym workout.

But with all the different machines you can try, how do you know which one is right for you? You’re on the right page.

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of using a calf workout machine and provide tips on how to get the most out of your routine. Let’s get started!

Seated Calf Machine

seated calf machine

How to use it:

  • Sit with your feet flat on the footpad and lift your heels. 
  • Start with a light weight and increase the resistance as you get stronger. 
  • Don’t lift your heels too much, or you can strain your calf muscles.

Benefits:

  • The seated calf machine is an excellent choice for beginners or those with knee problems. 
  • It is also a good option to isolate your calves without working other muscle groups.

Horizontal Leg Press

horizontal leg press machine

How to use it:

  • Adjust the seat so that your legs are at a comfortable angle. You might need to experiment a bit to find the perfect position, but you should be able to sit with your back flat against the pad and your feet firmly planted on the footrests.
  • Grasp the handles on either side of the machine, and take a deep breath in.
  • Slowly press the weight down with your legs as you exhale until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Make sure to keep your back flat against the pad throughout the movement.
  • Pause for a count of two, then inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • Start with a light weight and increase the amount of weight as you get stronger. 

Remember to focus on form rather than lifting as much weight as possible; you’ll get better results in the long run if you do fewer reps with good form than if you try to lift too much and end up compromising your form.

Benefits:

  • The horizontal leg press is a great all-around exercise for your lower body. It will help build strong quads, hamstrings, and glutes, in addition to working your calves.
  • You can change your feet’s position, thus targeting your calves and thighs from different angles. 
  • You can also push with your toes to get more calf engagement. But in this case, you may have to lower the overall weight you’re moving.

Stepper

stepper for calves workout

How to use it:

  • Stand on the stepper with your feet shoulder-width apart and ensure your weight is evenly distributed. 
  • Lift your heels so that you’re standing on your toes.
  • Hold for a few seconds. 
  • You can do this exercise with both feet simultaneously or alternate feet. 
  • If you want a challenge, you can also try holding dumbbells while you do the stepper exercise. 
  • Do two sets of 10-15 repetitions, and you’ll see results in no time.

Benefits:

  • The increased balance challenge targets your calves more.
  • You can use it in many other ways than the method explained above. For example, you could do calf-raise pulses. You can also stand with one leg on the stepper, facing sideways, moving the other one front to back. That move exercises your quads and glutes quite a lot too.
  • Steppers are adjustable.
  • You can always purchase a stepper for home use.

Plyometric Boxes (Plyo Boxes)

plyo boxes for calf

How to use it:

  • Position yourself in front of the box with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your hands on the box for support and raise your left leg, so your calf is parallel to the ground.
  • From there, slowly lower your leg until your heel dips below the edge of the box. 
  • Press back up to the starting position. 
  • Be sure to maintain a slow and controlled movement throughout the entire exercise. 
  • After 10-15 repetitions on one side, switch legs and repeat on the other side. 
  • Try holding a dumbbell in each hand as you perform the exercise for an extra challenge. 

An alternative way to use the plyo box is by jumping on it.

  • Position yourself about 3-3.5 feet in front of the box.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Jump up on the box with both feet (if you can).
  • Scale up your exercise by increasing the plyo box’s height (add more of them on top of each other).

Need to scale this down?

Use the plyo box for some toning yoga or relaxing stretches.

Benefits:

  • Plyo boxes are highly versatile. They can help you target your calves through various moves.
  • Plyo boxes fit different routines, from strength to cardio and stretching.
  • Plyo boxes are affordable enough for home purchases.

Balance Ball

balance ball for calf workout

How to use it:

Any lower body bodyweight exercise you do on a balance ball changes your muscles more than exercising on the mat. 

Try calf raises, squats, lunges, bridges – whatever else you can think of.

Here’s another calf-burning alternative:

  • Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Slowly lift your hips off the ball and raise your right leg. 
  • Hold for a count of three.
  • Lower your leg and repeat with your left leg. 
  • For an added challenge, try this move with both legs simultaneously. You should feel a nice burn in your calves after just a few repetitions. 

Benefits:

  • The balance ball makes any lower body exercise more difficult, thus targeting your calves more.
  • The balance ball is an excellent tool for toning yoga and stretching too.
  • You can purchase a balance ball for home use. They are relatively inexpensive and last long.

Mini-trampoline

mini trampoline for calf

How to use it:

  • Stand on the trampoline with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Next, start bouncing gently. 
  • As you get more comfortable, increase the height of your jumps. 
  • Remember to keep your knees soft as you land. 

Benefits:

  • All bodyweight exercises target your calves more intensely on a mini trampoline. Just try a squat to see how it goes for you. 
  • To target your inner calves, point your toes out as you jump. For your outer calves, point your toes in. And for a real calf-toning challenge, try doing hops on one foot! 
  • It’s fun and has a low-perceived effort level.
  • Mini-trampolines are not just for gym use; you can always buy one for home.

Stair Stepper

stair stepper for calves

How to use it:

  • Begin by placing your feet on the pedals, ensuring that each pedal is securely in place. 
  • Then start slowly climbing, keeping your back straight and your abs engaged. 
  • As you build up momentum, increase the intensity of your workout by climbing faster or adding resistance.

Benefits:

  • The stair stepper tones your entire legs.
  • It’s a low-impact workout that is easy on your joints.
  • You can easily adjust the stair’s height and the stepper’s speed.
  • You can safely wear a weighted vest to increase resistance.
  • You can find stair steppers at most gyms or purchase one for home use.

Elliptical

elliptical for calves

How to use it:

  • Start by standing on the elliptical with your feet in the middle of the foot pads. This position will ensure that you’re getting a good range of motion and that your calves are getting a good workout.
  • As you exercise, focus on pushing through your heels rather than your toes. This movement will engage your calf muscles more effectively.
  • If your elliptical has adjustable resistance, increase it to challenge your muscles and prevent them from plateauing.

Benefits:

  • The elliptical provides a low-impact workout that is easy on your joints.
  • You can use the elliptical to tone your entire body, including your upper body.
  • You can easily adjust the resistance level on an elliptical to make your workout more or less challenging.
  • You can pedal backward to target your calves more.
  • Most ellipticals have built-in heart rate monitors to help track your progress.
  • You can find affordable, compact ellipticals for home use.

Spin Bike

spin bike for your calves

How to use it:

  • Adjust the seat so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle when the pedals are at their lowest point. This position is essential because it ensures you’re using your muscles, not your joints, to power the bike. 
  • Next, select a resistance level that feels challenging but not impossible. You should maintain a pedaling speed of 60-80 RPMs without too much effort. 
  • Finally, focus on pushing down with your heels as you pedal. This tactic will help to engage your calf muscles and give them a good workout. 

Benefits:

  • Spin bikes help you achieve other fitness goals, such as strength training your entire body or reducing fat stores.
  • Spin bikes are versatile. You can always stand up on the bike to engage your calves more. Alternatively, you can increase the speed and resistance.

Incline Treadmill

incline treadmill for calf workout

How to use it:

  • Start by walking on the treadmill at a comfortable pace. 
  • Once warmed up, slowly increase the treadmill’s incline until you walk at a steep angle. 
  • Keep your back straight and your abs engaged to avoid injury. 
  • Focus on pushing through your heels to engage your calf muscles as you walk.
  • You can also add hand weights to increase the intensity of your workout. 
  • If you’re new to incline walking, start with a lower slope and work your way up as you get more comfortable.

Benefits:

  • An incline treadmill is excellent for cardio.
  • You can find heavy-duty incline treadmills at most gyms. You can also purchase one for your home gym.
  • You can increase the intensity of your workout by increasing the speed or incline of the treadmill or by wearing a weighted vest.

Curved Treadmill

curved treadmill for calf

How to use it:

  • Start by standing on the treadmill with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Place your hands on the handrails for balance. 
  • Slowly start walking forward, keeping your feet close to the center of the belt. If you walk too fast from the get-go, the belt will begin rolling underneath you too much. Most beginners lose their balance and may fall when first using a curved treadmill.
  • As you walk, let your heels drop down slightly so your toes are higher than your heels. This slight incline will help to tone your calf muscles.

Benefits:

  • The curvature of such a treadmill allows more calf-targeting than a flat treadmill because you can naturally keep your toes slightly higher than the heels.
  • There’s no motor, meaning you activate this curved treadmill with your body weight. That demands extra effort from your calves because you constantly push the machine forward.
  • You can use this treadmill for other exercises such as sprints, jogging, and even walking lunges. Just keep your hands on the handrails for safety.

Wrap Up

Whether you want to improve your fitness level or tone your calves, these workout machines are a great place to start. Ellipticals, spin bikes, curved treadmills, balance balls, and strength machines are all effective ways to target your calf muscles and get the results you’re after. 

What are you waiting for? Give them a try today!

Mary D. Brown

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