When choosing leg exercise equipment for your commercial gym, it is important to know which machines are the most effective for isolating the specific leg muscles that need to be targeted. The goal of a good leg workout is to achieve toned muscles, strengthen the bones in the legs, and help reduce the likelihood of leg injuries.
Here are five machines that are designed to ensure maximum efficacy for leg workouts:
1. Seated Leg Curl
Tip: Sit in a leg curl machine and grasp the handles. Adjust the seat in such a way that the axis of the machine aligns with your knee joints. Push your legs down as far a possible then return to starting position.
Target areas: The seated leg curl is an isolation exercise that strengthens the muscles that bend your knee, known as the knee flexors. The instrument not only targets the hamstrings, the strongest knee flexors but also strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
2. Leg Extension
Tip: Set up the leg extension machine so the pad is at the top of your lower legs at the ankles. Place your knees are at 90 degrees. Select a weight that will give you a moderate load for 10 to 12 repetitions. Place your hands on the hand bars. Lift the weight while exhaling until your legs are almost straight. Do not lock your knees. Exhale and lower the weight back to starting position
Target areas: Leg extension works mainly the quadriceps muscles -the large muscles of the front of the thigh. Leg extensions also focus on strengthening the patellar ligament, the key attachment for the knee. Make sure your equipment comes with a thigh-support pad to minimize the pressure stressed at the knee.
3. Standing Calf
Tip: Place your feet on the foot pedal and ensure your shoulders touch the shoulder pads and keep your frame straight to exercise the calf and medial and lateral muscle group of the calf.
Target areas: The biggest advantage of doing the standing calf exercise is the amount of stress it places on the gastrocnemius muscle – the muscle that lies on the outside back of the calf. Make sure that you don’t overload this area and keep the knees straight without distributing the stress to the soleus muscle located underneath. Training the gastrocnemius in such a way will give your calves thickness from the side and inside width.
4. Leg Press
Tip: Width apart, place your feet on the footplate. Straighten your legs and release the leg press handles. Make sure your entire back, particularly the lower portion, is firmly set against the seat. Keeping your feet set, lower your legs towards your chest – being careful not to bounce your knees off your chest – then press up again. Don’t fully lock your legs out at the knee – this maintains muscular tension on the quads and doesn’t risk a knee injury.
Target areas: The leg press machine allows you to develop the quadriceps. Secondarily, it develops the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and calves. By adding variations to your foot position you can emphasize different muscles.
Safety Tips for Leg Workouts
- Before using any type of fitness equipment for the first time, have a personal trainer help you design a workout routine.
- Have an exercise plan in place, and know the proper body positioning to safely use the machine.
- Ensure your form is correct. The most effective leg workouts require proper form so as to utilize the entire range of motion and prevent injuries.
- Avoid anything that requires too much forward movement of the knee during lunging and squatting movements.
When buying commercial gym equipment, quality matters. At Fitness World, we have a wide range of strength training machines for leg workouts from the EVO series that target a variety of leg muscle groups. Please contact us to learn more.