Many people like to visit a gym because there they can find a lot of sports machines and equipment for better leg training. In this article, we will tell you about Smith, cable and leg press machine leg workouts.
Features of Leg Workouts at the Gym
Leg training is one of the most important things in the workout routine of any sportsman. Well-developed leg muscles give the body not only aesthetic appearance, but also train the muscles, giving them a perfect look. In addition, leg workout is a good way to boost your testosterone levels naturally. Plus, you can use Tribulus Terrestris and other supplements. Some people use anabolic steroids like Anavar and Sustanon, however, these drugs’ use is associated with some side effects of steroids.
Meanwhile, the legs are one of the most unloved muscle groups for most beginners. And it is definitely true, it is very difficult to train them, and the result is visible only after a long period of time. However, with proper training and proper nutrition including all the necessary nutrients, the result can be achieved many times faster than without these methods.
The muscles of the legs are divided into 3 groups:
- Muscles-flexors (hamstrings).
- Extensor muscles (quadriceps).
- Calf muscles.
The main role in leg training is the observance of the correct technique of exercises. Neglect of this rule often ends in trauma and leads to a multiple reduction in the effectiveness of the exercises performed. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to warm up before the start of the workout, as well as to do cooldown movements after its completion.
Beginners should train their legs 6-8 times a month (2 times a week), performing 1-2 exercises in their leg workouts at the gym. And yes, you may think that we’re wrong. You’ve probably heard that the optimal frequency for training of one muscle group is once a week. However, American sports organizations recommend beginners to train one muscle group twice a week. There are appropriate studies that confirm this statement. But for an experienced athlete, the load regime depends on the goals and tasks pursued at the moment. As a rule, 1-2 basic exercises and 1-3 isolation ones should be performed once a week (as most people do).
Leg Workout Machines – What They Are?
If you’re an experienced gym rat, you’ve seen a lot of leg workout machines in gyms. Nevertheless, you might be interested in their principles of work. If you are a beginner, you definitely need to know basic things about these machines. Theoretical knowledge is very important when it comes to effective workouts at the gym. Here is a list of leg workout machines.
- Hackenschmidt Machine. It is used to perform machine-assisted squats in bodybuilding. During these exercises, gluteal, semitendinous muscles, quadriceps are involved, mediocre effects on the calves are also present.
- Platform Machine for Leg Press. It is used to work out all the muscles of the legs. Preferred for those who have problems with the back. When performing an exercise of varying intensity, this part of the body is not involved.
- Leg Extension Machine. The main feature of the machine is the unloading of the knees, which helps to protect the joint from overloading. But do not use large weights! Your knees may suffer from it.
- Lying Leg Curl Machine. This machine helps to provide the similar effect on the muscles of the legs (as previous extension machine), but an athlete changes his / her position.
- Calf Workout Machine. This machine helps to train the calf muscle fibers, giving them strength and forming the leg muscles definition. This is a good option for people who do not like to perform calf exercises with dumbbells or a barbell.
How to Do Smith Machine Leg Workouts
What is a Smith machine? Surely not everyone knows what this gym machine is and how it may be used by athletes. When you come to the gym, pay attention to the high rectangular frame, inside of which there is a bar fixed inside the metallic frame.
- Smith Machine Assisted Lunge. This is a popular exercise for the development of the muscles of the anterior surface of the thighs (quadriceps) and buttocks. The sense of this exercise in the machine is that the trajectory of the projectile is fixed, and this removes the load from the muscles of the body’s stabilizers and allows you to make the maximum emphasis on the target musculature.
- Smith Machine Squat. Stand under the bar of the bar, leaning against it with trapezoids. Put your hands on top, at a convenient distance from each other. Then remove the bar from the stops, we throw off the fasteners that are usually performed in the form of hooks (if available) and straight your body out. Set your feet shoulder width apart a little forward from the body line (about 8 inches). Inhale, hold your breath, and start moving. Smoothly lower down, while bending the hip joint back (you can imagine that you sit on a chair or bench: the movement is almost identical). Continue to lower down until the femurs are parallel to the floor. Without delay at the bottom point, you should immediately begin the reverse movement. Exhale when the bar passes most of the trajectory. Repeat the required number of times (the recommended number of reps is 6-10).
While doing Smith machine leg workouts, you can expect to receive the following benefits comparing to a free weight barbell squat:
- more precise technique of execution in comparison with free weights;
- more effective impact of the load (without its spreading on other muscle groups) on the target muscle in comparison with the free weights (but this advantage may be a drawback in some cases);
- the ability to perform squats even by gym rats having problems with the knees due to the different setting of the legs and adjusting the depth of the squats, which allows to remove the excessive load from the knees;
- concentrating only on the exercise performance without thoughts of balance themselves while doing the squat (the athlete does not need to stabilize himself or seek equilibrium);
- the possibility to quickly learn a proper technique and create a certain muscular framework and then switch to free weights – dumbbells and barbells;
- the possibility to spot yourself, thereby working without a partner;
- the possibility to perform several exercises at once to different muscle groups, without changing equipment and place of performing exercises;
- minimizing the risk of injury, which is especially important for beginners and people having knee disorders (read more about knee corticosteroid injections, which have an inflammatory effect; you might be also interested in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
Leg Press Machine Workout
You can adhere to the following leg press machine workout instruction. Using the machine, sit down on it and place the legs on the platform directly in front of you at a shoulder width foot distance. Then you should lower the safety bars located at the side of the machine. The next step is to press the platform all the way up until the legs are completely extended in front of your core. Inhale and lower the platform until your legs make a right angle. Exhale and back to the initial position. As you can see, this exercise is simple to perform. Nevertheless, beginners are recommended to consult gym coaches before performing the exercise for the first time. You know, it’s always best to err on the side of caution!
Cable Machine Leg Workout
You can make simple exercises like squats and lunges more challenging using cable machines. For example, you can use the following exercises as a part of your cable machine leg workout:
- Cable Squats;
- Cable Lunges (holding a D-handle).
- Cable Side Lunges;
- Cable Kickbacks;
- Cable Step-Ups (with the help of the box or any other elevation);
- Cable Deadlifts (you can read more about deadlifts in this article).