The Flaw: Placing the pad too far down the legs
The Fix: Every seated calf raise has the pad you position on the tops of your legs. A common error is to have the pad placed up the legs a bit — a better spot is on top of the knees. This way, the weight is directly over the shins to provide the optimal path of motion vertically. When the pad is in place, you shouldn’t see the tops of your knees.
The Flaw: Going too heavy
The Fix: This may seem obvious because “lighten the weight” is a predictable fitness cliché. Yet athletes still load up the seated calf raise machine with way too many plates. Start with one plate and shoot for high reps (20+). When that gets too easy, add 10 to 25 pounds, not 45.
The Flaw: Stopping short at the top
The Fix: This is often a byproduct of going too heavy, but not always. Even with moderate to light weight, abbreviated range of motion on seated calf raises is an epidemic in commercial gyms. Your heels should be well above your toes at the top of every rep, and the “squeeze” in this position should be intense — almost to the point of feeling your calves starting to cramp up.