The legs are some of the body’s largest muscles—and they play a huge role in everything you do, from walking up the stairs to lifting heavy boxes. Developing the right leg strength is essential for beginners, and simple machines and exercises can be a good place to start. But what are the best machines for beginner leg workouts? We spoke with fitness trainers to find out about the best machines for building leg strength and which exercises to do with them.

1. Leg Press Machine

The leg press is a great machine for increasing your leg mass and strength. It involves lying down and pressing upward against a plate with your legs, which is attached to weights. This is an excellent choice for beginners who want to increase the amount of weight they can lift safely—plus it’s a safer alternative to squatting.

2. Seated Leg Extension Machine

The seated leg extension machine is another great option for beginners because it targets the quads (front of your legs) and helps improve your posture. It can also help with hip mobility, which is important for everyday movement and stability. Beginners should aim to complete 10-15 reps of each set, with rest periods of 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

3. Inner / Outer Thigh Machine

The inner and outer thigh machines are good for shaping and toning the legs and hips. They’re also helpful for strengthening the knees and pelvic muscles, which are essential for walking and running. The seat on these machines can move forward, backward, and sideways, targeting different muscles in the leg. Beginners should use light to moderate resistance on this machine, and pause at the top of each set to squeeze their inner thighs.

4. Leg Curl Machine

The seated leg curl machine works your inner and outer thigh muscles, as well as your glutes. It can also strengthen your calves, so it’s a great one-stop shop for strengthening the legs and hips. Beginners should try to perform 10-15 repetitions of each set, and if it feels easy, they can add dumbbells or a medicine ball to make the exercise harder. Remember, it’s a good idea to track your progress by writing down how much weight you used and for how many reps. Our free strength-training app, StrengthLog, is a great way to do this.

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