leg press workouts for hamstrings, glutes and quads

I want to mention some great leg exercises for both men and women. In the bodybuilding world, we tend to workout targeted muscle groups.  These exercises can be separated into muscle groups as well. Some leg exercises work the quads, hamstrings, and glutes altogether. Other exercises include quad specific exercises, with some target on hamstrings as well. Lastly but not less important are the calf specific exercises.

At this time, we will workout the quads, hamstrings and glutes with squats, dumbbell squats, front squat, squat machine squats, machine leg press, hack squats, and finally dumbbell lunges.  This is a killer workout.



The squat is one of the primary leg exercises for building both size and strength in the legs. With a proper and full range of motion, it works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. The typical stance for a squat is slightly wider than shoulder-width. The user may angle their toes outward and use a wider stance if working the inner part of the leg is desired. Users must be very careful when performing the squat, as it is very easy to be injured when performing it. A key aspect to pay attention to is to not round the back at any point in the exercise. A good technique for assuring not to round your back is to keep your head back and look toward where the ceiling meets the wall throughout the motion. Another key aspect is keeping balance through this exercise. To help with balance, the user should keep his weight on his heels. To test this, the user should be able to wiggle his toes easily at any time during the squat. The typical stance for a squat is slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Dumbbell Squat

The dumbbell squat is a variation on the squat. It is one of the leg exercises that may be preferred by those with back problems or those who do not have access to a squatting rack. Unlike a regular squat where the weight is supported across the upper back and shoulders, the weights used on the dumbbell squat are limited by the dumbbell the user can hold. It is not recommended to use straps to do heavier weight; if heavier weight is desired, a regular squat should be performed. Because of the weight discrepancy, the dumbbell squat should be performed at a slightly higher rep range, though not much more, since it is still a strength exercise.

Front Squat

The front squat is a variation on the squat. This exercise takes the weight off of the user’s back and puts it across the upper chest and shoulders. The benefit to this switch is that the weight no longer bears down directly on the spine. This is beneficial to more than just those with existing back pain. The front squat also works the quads more than a regular squat. The one downside to the shift in weight position is that the glutes and hamstrings are worked less than the squat.

Smith Machine Squat

The smith machine squat is a variation on the squat. What makes the smith machine squat more appealing to some users is that it limits the risk of injury when performing leg exercises. One of the risks of performing a squat is that the user will lose the weight either forward or backward. Since the smith machine controls the weight during the movement, the user does not have to worry about balance. This control can also allow the user to get deeper into the movement, really hitting the hamstrings and glutes. There are two downsides to performing a smith machine squat. The first is that the rigidity of the motion may be uncomfortable for less flexible users. The second, as with all smith machine exercises, is that the stabilizer muscles are not being worked because the machine is controlling the horizontal movement of the weight.

Machine Leg Press

The machine leg press is one of the primary size and strength building machine leg exercises. It primarily works the quads. It also secondarily works the hamstrings and glutes. The degree to which these secondary muscles are worked depends on how deep the user lets the weight come. The longer the range of motion on the machine leg press, the more the secondary muscles are worked. As with the squat, the typical foot position is shoulder width apart with the toes pointed forward. This foot position may be varied to change the way the muscle is worked. A wider stance works the inner muscle more. The feet may also be moved upward if the user wants the machine leg press to put more focus on the quads. This exercise comes in two variations. The first involves pressing the foot plate away from the user to move the weight stack while the other involves pressing on the foot plate to move the backrest. Both variations work the muscle in the same way.

Hack Squat

The hack squat is a variation of the squat. Similar to the front squat, this exercise shifts the weight so that it is not bearing down directly on the spine. This exercise therefore works the quads more than it works the hamstrings and glutes. The user may also move the feet forward in order to work the quad around the knee more.

Dumbbell Lunges

The dumbbell lunge is one of the more complete and diverse leg exercises, working the quads, hams, and glutes in one motion. In order to work all this muscles, a full range of motion must be reached. It is not recommended to touch your knee to the ground unless you are starting off with very light weight. The impact of slamming your knee into the ground can be painful and could risk internal injury. While the dumbbell lunge is most often by stepping forward and then returning to the starting position, this exercise can be varied by walking forward with the weights until the number of reps are completed or until a set distance is reached.