Seated vs Standing Heel Raises

I know each and everyone of you has seen both a seated AND standing calf machine in the gym. But have you ever thought to yourself, โ€˜is there any difference between the two?โ€™ Well, right now youโ€™re about to find out! Both machines/positions target the calf muscles, in particular the ankle plantarflexors. Your primary two ankle plantarflexors are the gastocnemius and the soleus muscles. Both of these muscle are EXTREMELY STRONG muscles - some of the strongest in the body! However, as we outlined in episode 18, there is a KEY distinction between these two strong guys. The gastrocnemius muscle crosses BOTH the ANKLE and the KNEE joint! Not only is the gastroc an ankle plantarflexor, but it is also a knee flexor. This means it is a 2-joint muscle; thus, it is affected by the position of BOTH the ankle and knee joint! On the other hand, the soleus muscle ONLY CROSSES THE ANKLE JOINT; thus, it is NOT AFFECTED BY THE POSITION OF THE KNEE. So when performing a seated calf raise, we are putting the gastroc on relative slack (because the knee is bent/flexed). This means that we can preferentially TARGET THE SOLEUS MUSCLE when performing seated calf raises! But when we stand (knee is straight/extended), the gastroc is no longer on slack. This means that we are now relatively TARGETING THE GASTROC when performing standing calf raises!
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