This video shows me doing one of the most common calf training exercises, the seated calf raise. I normally do sets of 25 at 85 pounds on the arm. I’ve never checked the amount of leverage, but the weights are at the end of the arm, with your knees about the middle of the arm, so if you just do the math that way, it’s about a 5/8 mechanical disadvantage, but the weights swing about a pivot point that your butt sits around, so not sure if that helps or hurts? I’d have to use some type of scale to measure.
Anyway, physics aside, I like to push fast on the way up, and slow it on the way down. In the video you can see the muscles of my right calf, in spite of the Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves.
A good idea, especially for beginners, is to get some sensory feedback going by lightly tapping your calf muscles with a few fingertips to make sure they’re good and flexed. It’s best if you let your heels go as far down as possible to get a good stretch since your calf muscles are typically pretty tight – you generally use them all day every day just walking around.
You could also experiment with a few little pulses or bounces at the top and bottom, but please be gentle so you don’t tear anything. A Seated Calf Machine could be pretty expensive (I got mine on clearance as a floor model at a local fitness store) for a decent model, but if you belong to a club, most have some version of it that you could figure out in a heartbeat.
Strong calf muscles help with ice climbing, rock climbing, hiking, and general scrambling on rocks. If you’re going to run for training, your calf can help stabilize your ankles and prevent injury, especially shin splints.