The legs provide overall support to the body, specially when standing, walking, or running. In the field of health and fitness, the legs are trained to be proportional to the size of the chest, arms, and shoulders. Along with dumbbell exercises, the following are some machine exercises a person can perform to boost the size of his legs.
Leg press or leg presses is a compound pushing exercise that targets the leg muscles, especially the quadriceps. It also engages the gluteus muscles, the hamstrings, and the calves. According to Body Building, the person sits down on the machine and places his legs on the platform in front of him. He uses a medium foot stance, which means at shoulder width; however, the narrow and wide foot stance, which means less than and more than shoulder width, respectively, can be used. Once ready, the person lowers the safety bars, which hold the weighted platform in place and presses the platform all the way up until his legs are completely extended in front of him. A good practice is not to lock the knees to prevent injury. Also, the torso and the legs should be at a 90-degree angle. The person breathes in as he gradually lowers the platform until his upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle. Then, he breathes out as he pushes the platform with the heels of his feet and the quadriceps. At the end of the exercise, it is important to ensure that the platform is securely locked when the weight is re-racked. The exercise is done for the planned number of sets and repetitions.
The calf press is a variation of the leg press using a machine. According to Jefit, the exercise works and strengthens the calf muscles and to perform the exercise, the person sits down on a leg press machine and then presses the plate up just like he was performing a leg press. Then, he slides his feet down, so that the balls of the feet are pressing against the rack. This means that the heels of the feet are hanging free. Next, he presses the platform and flexes his toes, keeping the handles locked. After that, the gradually brings the toes back to the body. As per the publication, lighter weight should be used on the exercise until the movements are familiarized.
Seated Hamstring Curl
The seated hamstring curl makes use of a machine to train the legs. According to Dr. Laskowski, as cited by Mayo Clinic, the exercise works the muscles in the back pat of the thigh, the hamstring muscles and training them helps protect the knee ligaments from injury.
To do the exercise, the person sits on the weight bench with his ankles on top of the bar. Then, he presses down the bar with his legs. Next, he raises his legs until the knees are almost straight until tension is felt on the muscles. Following a brief pause at the top of the contraction, the person gradually lowers the bar.
Hip Abduction and Hip Adduction
Two cable exercises for the legs are hip abduction and hip adduction. According to Tone and Tighten, hip abduction is done by moving the cable to the lowest position. Then, the person puts on an ankle cuff and stands perpendicular to the machine. After that, he lifts his legs out to the side, away from the machine. A good practice is to keep the toe pointed forward, as the person pulls from his glutes.
On the other hand, the hip adduction has the same set-up with the hip abduction. The difference is that the person turns around 180 degrees. He takes a big step away from the cable as the initial position, with his legs widely spread. The person pulls his leg toward the midline and in front of the stance leg with his inner thigh muscles.
Overall, the legs support the entire body, a reason why they are trained. Along with the aforementioned machine exercises for the legs, total leg development also needs proper nutrition and adequate rest.