leg workouts for women and men

We previously talked about leg workouts for quads, hamstrings and glutes. Do you want more definition to your legs? You need to incorporate these workouts. In bodybuilding, you need to ensure you target every large and small muscle for more definition.  Most people shy away from using weights in fear that they will bulk up more than they really want to.  Believe us when we say it takes YEARS for you to do that–plus, your diet has a lot to do with it.

These exercises below can be done by both men and women.

Quad Exercises

Machine Leg Extensions

Machine leg extensions are one of the few quad specific leg exercises. The machine leg extension is more of an isolation exercise than a squat or machine leg press. Your knee should align with the movement point of the machine. The pad should be resting on the front of your leg just above the ankle. If the back pad is adjustable, adjust it so that when you lean back, your whole back is flat against the pad with your butt on the seat. Either grip the handles on the side of the seat or lower the weight if need be.


Machine Leg Curls

Machine leg curls are one of the staple leg exercises that works the upper hamstrings, as well as the glutes at the top of the motion. This exercise allows users to isolate the hamstrings. Though commonly performed using both legs, the exercise may be done one leg at a time, depending on the user’s flexibility or if one leg is overworking the other. Those with low back problems should be careful when performing this exercise. The stretch of fully extending the legs, coupled with having to pull the weight back up from that position can cause pulling in the low back.

Standing Leg Curl

The standing leg curl is one of the hamstring leg exercises that works the whole hamstring, in addition to the glutes at the top of the motion. It is performed one leg at a time. This machine is often more user friendly for those with bank injuries than the machine leg curl. There is usually less pressure on the low back because you are standing and not stretched out as much as on the machine. The standing leg curl usually involves putting weight plates on, meaning that the user will be physically moving the weight, rather than using a cable to pull it as with performing it on a machine.

Straight Leg Deadlift

The straight leg deadlift is one of the more advanced hamstring leg exercises. It can be used to add size, strength, and explosive power in the hamstring muscle. A shoulder-width stance with the feet pointed forward should be used. While this is a power movement to be performed with heavy weight, it is still important to control the motion throughout and be sure not to overextend the low back at the top of the motion. It should not be performed by those with low back injuries. Hamstring exercises such as the machine leg curl or the standing leg curl should be used instead.

Calf Exercises

Machine Calf Raises

The machine calf raise is one of the common leg exercises for working the calf muscle. Using a machine distributes the weight differently than a plate loaded press, so back pain should be alleviated. The typical stance for a machine calf raise is shoulder-width, with the toes pointed straight forward.

Calf Press on Leg Press

The calf press is one of the primary leg exercises for building size and strength in the calf muscles. This exercise can be formed on a variety of machines. A common place to perform them is the leg press because of the back support provided and the ability to do very heavy weights. The leg press will have safety latches on either side. While these have to be disengaged to perform a leg press, given the short range of motion involved in a calf press, they can remain in place. This provides an extra level of safety when performing the exercise with high weights. This exercise is usually performed with a shoulder-width foot position, with the toes pointed straight ahead.

Seated Calf Raise

The seated calf raise is one of the simplest leg exercises for the calf. It is usually performed with a shoulder-width foot position, with the toes pointed straight ahead. The difference between the seated calf raise and a calf press is how the weight is distributed across the leg. With a press, the calf is having to press the weight out directly. With a seated calf raise, the weight is distributed across the knees, preventing any other body part from helping the calves move the weight.