Hoping to look great in your shorts or bikini this summer? Then now is the time to start toning your legs and butt. Alongside Jonathon Lomax’s ‘summer fit’ series, here’s how to use gym leg machines for the best, ass-kicking results to impress when you undress!
The Leg Press
For a shapely thigh and butt, you can’t do better than the leg press, demonstrated here. An alternative to squats, the leg press engages several muscles - mainly the quads at the front of the thighs, and your gluteus maximus (butt). Leg presses build enormous strength so are also recommended for anyone wanting to improve their jumping and running speed.
Varying the angle between the backrest and sled, and placement of your feet decides which muscles are targeted. In general, keep your feet lower and fully on the plate, toes turned slightly out.
For more glute action, place your feet near the top of the press. Turn toes inward to target your outer-thighs.
Aim for three sets of 8 to 12 reps for any leg press exercise. This leaves space for other leg/butt exercises such as the squat and lunge for the best all-round routine.
The Leg Curl
Seated and lying leg curl machines give amazing benefits to the hamstrings, the three muscles behind your thighs. Your butt may feel like it’s working hard, this is because the hamstring muscle goes up into your butt as well.
Lying leg curls are the more popular exercise, demonstrated here. For best results keep your hips down as much as possible, look down, and avoid using momentum to swing upwards. Exhale as you bring your legs up, inhale as you lower.
Seated leg curls are recommended if you have lower back problems. A good technique is shown here. Although slightly less intense than lying curls, they do work the inner hamstrings harder.
A weekly combination of both machines is recommended. Do some cardio first to warm your muscles up. Then aim for 4 sets of 10 leg curls.
Use the leg machines in conjunction with squats, lunges, glute/ham bridge and deadlifts and you’ll be one step closer to the hottest legs and butt in town. All these can be done with weights to really maximise your workout but without is good too.
interesting. What should we be doing to keep things in balance to protect knees? (having been told that this is very important)
Leg press is also definitely useful if you have a back injury. My lower back was a bit iffy and for some reason squats were painful, or had to be done really slowly. But I was able to do the leg press to keep my hamstrings in shape. Don't bring the sled too close to your body though or you'll strain it when you push back up.