Leg Exercises for Men and Women – Get Results !

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Last updated on February 12, 2023

Training your legs is tough work. So, you want to make sure that you are getting the most out of that effort. In this article, I’ll provide you with four separate workouts to allow you to train your legs with maximum effectiveness, whether you are at home or in the gym. For the home workouts, we’ll make use of a resistance band, which is one of the best investments that you can make for a great lower body home workout.

Identifying Your Leg Muscles

The muscles of your legs consist of the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the calves. These three muscles act in very much the same way as the three key muscles of your arms – the biceps (hamstrings),  triceps (quads) and forearms (triceps).

A good leg workout will give equal weight to all three muscles. Men and women should do the same workout for legs.

Home Workout Beginners:

Bodyweight Squats

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart and your arms crossed over at chest level.
  • Look directly ahead with your back slightly arched as you hinge at the hips to descend into a parallel squat.
  • Push through the heels to return to the start position.

Crab Walk Hold

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and a thick resistance loop band around your mid thigh area.
  • Drop down into a quarter squat position and place your clasped hands in front of your chest.
  • Step forward and laterally to the left and then the right. Take two steps back to return to the start position. That is one rep.

Squat Heel Raises

  • Position a resistance loop band around your upper thighs.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward, with arms out in front of your body.
  • Hinge at the hips to drop down into a parallel squat. In the bottom position, raise up onto your toes to bring your heels off the floor.
  • Lower your heels to the floor and then rise out of the squat.

The Workout:

  • Bodyweight Squats – 3 x 15
  • Crab Hold Walk – 3 sets of steps back and forth
  • Squat Heel Raises – 3 x 15

Home Intermediate Workout

Bulgarian Split Squats

  • Stand in front of a bench, facing away from it.
  • Place your left foot up on the bench and clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  • Descend down into a squat so that your rear knee almost touches the floor.
  • Push through your front heel to return to the start position.

Banded Reverse Lunge

  • In a standing position have a resistance band under your left foot, which is looped. Hold the other end of the band in your left hand while keeping both feet together.
  • Extend your right foot back to descend into a reverse lunge. Push through the front thigh to return to the start position.
  • That is one rep. Perform all of your reps on one leg before repeating with the other.

Heel Raise

  • Stand arm’s length away from a waist height window or chair with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Reach out to grab the ledge or chair. Maintaining a neutral spine, rise upwards pivoting on your toes until you feel the impact on your calfs.
  • Return back down to the start position. This is one rep.

The Workout

  • Bulgarian Split Squats – 3 x 15 (each leg)
  • Banded Reverse Lunge – 3 x 12 (each leg)
  • Heel Raise – 3 x 20

Gym Beginner Workout

Leg Extension

  • Sit in a leg extension machine and set the appropriate weight.
  • Grab the handles, place both legs under the ankle pads and extend your legs to full extension.
  • Hold for a second and then lower slowly and repeat.

Smith Machine Front Squats

  • Position a Smith machine bar to shoulder level, load the weight and the position yourself under the bar, resting it across your upper chest and clavicles.
  • Cross your arms over your chest to hold the bar.
  • Descend into a parallel squat.
  • Push through the heels to return to the start position.

Lying Leg Curls

  • Lie face down on a lying leg curl machine with your ankles under the ankle pads.
  • Set the appropriate pin weight selection and grab the handles.
  • Keeping your hips down, curl your lower legs up toward your butt to fully contract the hamstrings.
  • Lower and repeat

Leg Press Calf Raise

  • Sit on a leg press machine with your toes on the bottom of the foot place.
  • Push your legs out to full extension.
  • Extend your calves fully to move the foot plate forward.
  • Reverse the movement to fully contract the calves.

The Workout

  • Leg Extension – 3 x 15
  • SmithMachine Front Squats – 3 15/10/8
  • Lying Leg Curls – 3 x 15
  • Leg Press calf Raise – 3 x 20

Gym Intermediate Workout

Cable Squat

  • Set the pulley on a double cable machine to their lowest position.
  • Grab the handles and step back about three feet from the machine, facing it.
  • Lean back as you descend down into a full squat.
  • Push through your heels to return to the start position.

Seated Leg Curl

  • Sit on a seated leg curl machine and set the pads for your height.
  • Contract your hamstrings to bring the ankle pads down to full extension.
  • Pause in the bottom position and return to the start position.

Romanian Deadlift

  • Stand with feet slightly shoulder width apart, toes pointed out and a loaded Olympic barbell in front of you. Reach down to grab the bar with a shoulder width reverse grip.
  • Maintaining a neutral spine, hinge at the hips to lower your torso to a parallel position to the floor.
  • Contract your lower back as you raise back up to the start position.

Seated Calf Raise

  • Load the weight on a seated calf raise machine and sit on the machine with your upper foot on the foot platform.
  • Lift your calves to full contraction and then drop them down below the level of the foot platform to full extension.

The Workout

  • Cable Squat
  • Seated Leg Curl
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Seated Calf Raise

To Conclude

We have given some of the best leg workouts that you could follow. Try to adopt these as part of your exercise regime and we believe you will be pleased with the results.

Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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