Sled Calf Press: Your Step By Step Tutorial

Sled Calf Press is an awesome isolation exercise. We all want to look and feel our best, and the sled calf press is a great way to help you get there. This exercise is a great way to target your calf muscles, which can help you achieve strong, toned legs. In this article, we’ll provide instructions, benefits, the muscles used, tips, and common mistakes to help you get the most out of the exercise. So lace up your sneakers and get ready to power through the sled calf press.

Sled Calf Press Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Gastrocnemius
  • Secondary Muscles: Soleus
  • Equipment: Leg Press Machine
  • Mechanics Type: Isolated
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Basic
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Sled Calf Press Instructions

  • Place a sled on a flat surface.
  • Attach a pair of calf blocks to the sled.
  • Adjust the calf blocks so that the top of the calf block is in line with your knee joint.
  • Position yourself behind the sled and grasp the calf blocks firmly.
  • Keeping your toes pointed forwards, push the sled forward and away from your body.
  • Slowly lower your heels towards the ground.
  • Push back against the sled to raise your heels up and complete one rep.
  • Continue pushing and lowering for desired number of reps.

Video Tutorial

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Sled Calf Press Muscles

Target (Agonist)

  • Gastrocnemius


  • Soleus

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


  • None

Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the sled calf press exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Sled Calf Press

The Sled Calf Press is an excellent exercise for strengthening the Gastrocnemius, a major muscle in the calf. This exercise targets the muscle group more effectively than other calf exercises because it involves pushing a weighted sled, which provides more resistance than a bodyweight exercise. Additionally, the Sled Calf Press places the Gastrocnemius muscle under tension for a longer duration than other calf exercises, leading to increased muscle fiber recruitment and greater strength gains. Furthermore, this exercise has the added benefit of building power, which is useful for athletes looking to improve their explosiveness and agility.

Tips for Performing Sled Calf Press

The sled calf press is a great way to build strength and power in your calves. When done correctly, this exercise can help you improve your balance, coordination, and agility. To get the most out of this exercise and maximize its benefits, it is important to follow some key tips. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most important ones to help you get the most out of your sled calf press workout.

  • Make sure to start with your feet close together and your toes pointed straight ahead. This will help to ensure that you are using the correct muscle groups during the exercise.
  • Keep your back straight, chest up and shoulders back throughout the exercise. This will help to protect your lower back from strain and ensure that you are pushing with the correct muscles.
  • Drive your heels into the ground as you press the sled forward. This will help to engage the calf muscles correctly and maximize the results of the exercise.

Benefits and Tips Video

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Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

When performing the sled calf press, it is important to remember that proper form and technique are essential for maximum benefit and to avoid injury. Below is a list of common mistakes to avoid when performing the sled calf press.

  • Not starting with the correct weight: It is important to start with a weight that is manageable and allows you to perform the exercise with proper form. Starting with too much weight can lead to injury and poor form.
  • Not engaging your core muscles: Engaging your core muscles helps keep your body stable during the exercise and allows you to focus on the calf muscles that you are targeting. Not engaging your core can lead to a lack of control and stability when performing the exercise.
  • Not pushing through your heels: It is important to push through your heels when performing this exercise to ensure that the calf muscles are being targeted properly. Not pushing through your heels can cause you to use other muscles and limit the effectiveness of the exercise.

Variations and Complementary Exercises

If you are looking for some variety in your workout routine, there are a few variations, complementary, or alternative exercises for the exercise Sled Calf Press that work similar muscles. Below is a list of exercises that target the same areas as the Sled Calf Press:

Graphic image of Smith Machine Calf Raise.

Smith Machine Calf Raise: The Smith Machine Calf Raise is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Sled Calf Press. This exercise primarily works the muscles of the lower leg, namely the gastrocnemius and soleus. It is done by standing on a platform that is attached to a Smith Machine, then slowly raising your heels up towards your body while keeping your knees straight and then slowly lowering them back down. This exercise is great for developing strength in the calves and can be used as an alternative to the Sled Calf Press for those who don’t have access to a sled.

Graphic image of Band Calf Raises.

Band Calf Raises: Band Calf Raises are an effective and complementary exercise to the Sled Calf Press. This exercise is performed by standing on a band and holding each end with your hands, then rising up onto your toes as high as you can go before lowering back down. This exercise helps to target and strengthen the calf muscles, as well as the ankles. Band Calf Raises can be used as an alternative to the Sled Calf Press for those who don’t have access to a sled or don’t have the space to use one. Additionally, this exercise can be performed anywhere, making it an ideal option for anyone looking to strengthen their calves on the go.

Graphic image of Calf Raises With Bands.

Calf Raises With Bands: Calf Raises With Bands is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Sled Calf Press. This exercise requires the use of bands or cords to provide resistance against the upward and downward motion of the calf muscles. It is a great way to target the same muscles used in the Sled Calf Press and can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. The bands allow you to adjust the level of difficulty and intensity, making it an effective exercise for all fitness levels. Calf Raises With Bands can also be done with one foot at a time, giving you the ability to isolate each calf muscle and ensure proper form.

Check Out These Top Machine Exercises

Graphic image of Jump Rope.

Jump Rope: Jump rope is an effective and fun alternative or complementary exercise for the sled calf press. Jumping rope provides a cardiovascular workout, helps to improve coordination and agility, and provides a full body workout. Unlike the sled calf press, which focuses primarily on the lower body, jump rope engages the entire body in a dynamic way. Jumping rope also increases speed, power, and endurance, making it a great companion exercise for the sled calf press. Furthermore, jump rope can be done almost anywhere, making it an ideal addition to any workout routine.

Graphic image of Lever Donkey Calf Raise (Machine).

Lever Donkey Calf Raise (Machine): The Lever Donkey Calf Raise Machine is an excellent complementary or alternative exercise to the Sled Calf Press. It allows you to target your calves in a seated position and provides a greater range of motion than the Sled Calf Press. The Lever Donkey Calf Raise is also an effective way to isolate your calves for an intense workout. With this exercise, you can adjust the resistance to match your current fitness level and goals. Additionally, the machine helps maintain proper form and technique, which is beneficial for avoiding injury.

Graphic image of Lever Seated Calf Raise (Machine).

Lever Seated Calf Raise (Machine): The Lever Seated Calf Raise (Machine) is a great complementary or alternative exercise to the Sled Calf Press. It allows for a more controlled range of motion, which can help to reduce the risk of injury. It also works the calves from a seated position, which helps to take pressure off the lower back and can be beneficial for those with lower back pain. Additionally, it is an effective exercise for targeting the soleus muscles, which are often overlooked when doing calf exercises. The Lever Seated Calf Raise (Machine) is also a great exercise for increasing strength and size in the calves.

Opposing Complementary Exercises

In order to get the most out of the Sled Calf Press, it is important to also work the opposing muscle groups. This helps to create balance and symmetry in the body, as well as give your calves a well-rounded workout. Here are some exercises that you can incorporate into your routine that target opposing muscle groups:

Graphic image of Lunge.

Lunge: The lunge is a great complementary exercise to the sled calf press as it targets the opposing muscle group of the lower body. This exercise works your quadriceps and glutes while the sled calf press focuses on your calves and hamstrings. By performing both exercises, you can create balance in your lower body, which can help improve overall strength and stability. In addition, the lunge is an excellent way to develop hip mobility and core strength as well.

Graphic image of Rear Lunge.

Rear Lunge: The Rear Lunge is a great exercise to do in conjunction with the Sled Calf Press. It works the opposing muscle group of the calves, the glutes and hamstrings, allowing for a more well-rounded workout. By performing both exercises, you can effectively target all the major muscle groups in your lower body while also improving your balance and coordination. The Rear Lunge also helps to increase hip mobility and flexibility, which can help to prevent injuries and improve overall performance.

Graphic image of Walking Lunge.

Walking Lunge: Walking Lunge is a great exercise to pair with Sled Calf Press as it works the opposing muscle group. Walking Lunge targets the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps while Sled Calf Press targets the calves and Achilles tendon. Performing these exercises together helps create balance in the lower body and strengthens the muscles that support the lower body. Walking Lunge also helps increase mobility and flexibility, which is beneficial for athletes and those who participate in sports.


The Sled Calf Press is a great way to work your calf muscles, strengthen your lower body, and help you reach your fitness goals. Now that you know the instructions, benefits, muscles used, tips, and mistakes associated with this exercise, you have the knowledge to make the most of your workout. So why not give it a try? You may even find that it’s the best way to get the calves of your dreams. And if you want to learn more about fitness and other exercises, check out our website for more articles and resources.

References: Wikipedia | |

Pin image for sled calf press post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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