When you walk into a gym, all the equipment can be quite overwhelming. You’re greeted by barbells, dumbbells, and machines that seem to do just about anything. While many of these machines may be targeted toward other muscle groups, some, like the leg press, hack squat machine, and calf raise machine, can help you build strong legs and define your muscles with a simple set of movements.
In order to achieve the definition and strength you desire, it’s important that your workout routine includes both cardio and resistance training. Resistance training is essential for muscle growth, as it allows you to place stress on specific muscle groups, triggering the onset of muscle hypertrophy and resulting in muscle definition.
While both free weights and exercise machines can provide an effective leg workout, leg machines have the ability to isolate a specific muscle group while providing a number of other benefits, such as a controlled environment, guided range of motion, and adjustable settings. In addition, they are often seen as less intimidating for those new to the gym and can serve as a stepping stone for those who wish to transition to using free weights.
Leg press machines are one of the most common and versatile pieces of equipment found in commercial gyms. This machine allows you to target multiple lower body muscles including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. The leg press machine works by having you place your feet on a platform and then slowly push back, stopping just short of lockout. Once the set is complete, you twist your wrists to unlock and release the safety mechanism and return to the starting position.
Another machine that’s commonly found in gyms is the calf raise machine, which can be a standing or seated version. The seated leg raise machine will have pads that rest on the shoulder and the standing leg press will have pads that rest just above the knees. The primary function of this machine is to target the quadriceps.
You can also find a few other types of leg machines at your gym that will work the adductor and abductor muscles in the groin. These muscles are hard to train with standard equipment and are difficult to target during squat exercises such as the hack squat machine. You’ll likely find these machines at your gym by the leg extension and calf raise stations.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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