Since the gastroc is a bi-articular muscle; meaning it crosses 2 joints (knee and achilles tendon on the heel), it has 2 functions.
The gastroc is trained via plantar flexion (calf raise) when the knees are straight. But, since the gastroc also assists in knee flexion (like bringing your heel to butt), you will want to take an additional step when doing your leg curls if you want to maximize the gastroc activity in its other not-so-well-known function, knee flexion.
When performing leg curls you should dorsi-flex your ankle (bring toes to shin), and hold that position throughout the set. Remember, you can’t train both functions of a 2-joint muscle at the same time. Try doing a leg curl while simultaniously plantar flexing your ankle (like in the top of a calf raise) and you’ll see what I mean.
This is why the seated calf raise where the knee is bent at 90 degrees is best for the soleus muscle; because its only function is plantar flexion (calf raise). It only makes sense that it’s going to be targeted maximally when the gastroc is in a position where it can no longer come out to play via it's plantar flexion role.
Finally: See that big achilles tendon there? If you bounce your calf raises, this mighty tendon will absorb most of the load and rebound the weight up doing all the work instead of your calves! To combat this, I recommend pausing for 2-3 Mississippi’s at the bottom of every rep (yes 2-3). This will dissipate any tendon energy effectively removing any rebound and thus, your calves will have to pick up that weight all by themselves. Those poor things will never know what hit em. Your descent should be controlled, around 2 Mississippi’s, and your concentric should be forceful with an ever so slight pause at the top (just enough to feel it and confirm you did indeed complete the rep) Tag a friend with small calves and spread the news! #strengthguide