Leg Muscle Madness

To anyone who has ever picked up a weight – or even thought about it – this four-letter word can take on a variety of different meanings.

For many, legs are the indomitable foundation for which a healthy physique is formed. To a large number of others, the leg day is the one square on the calendar that you painfully dread, the one that you know will require both vigorous effort and agonizing labor.

And yet to many others, legs mean absolutely nothing. Hence, they are woefully neglected.

But nothing looks sillier on a fitness fanatic than a beefy upper torso cemented atop a pair of chicken legs.

So, don’t be that chicken. Take on these painful, gainful exercises that are sure to turn your legs into logs in due time.

Hack Squats: After setting the desired weight, station yourself inside the machine, so your shoulders are flush underneath the pads and your feet are in the middle of the platform. You feet should be at a shoulder length width. Releasing the safety bar, slowly bend your knees, allowing the weight to push your buttocks toward the platform. When your quadriceps are parallel to the floor – or perhaps dip a little lower – immediately reverse the movement, exploding the through an upward motion. Stop just before your knees are locked as you squeeze your legs during the contraction. Try 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Leg Presses: Lie down on the machine so that your feet are on the platform. Make sure that your feet are parallel to each other and not pointed inward or outward. Allow the weight to push your knees toward your torso. Stop when your knees form a 90-degree angle. Reverse the movement as you push with your legs, pushing your torso away from the platform. As your legs begin to straighten out, stop just short of your knees being locked. Slowly let the weight bring your buttocks down into the starting position. Try 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Leg Extensions: Sitting on the bench, clasp your ankles underneath the pads, gripping the side handles for balance. Slowly raise the pads, squeezing your quads, and stop the motion when your knees are locked in front of you. Squeeze your quads for a two-count before releasing the tension, allowing your legs to drop to the starting position. Repeat the motion for 3 sets of 12-15 for an incredible burn.

Hamstring Curls: Set yourself face down on the hamstring machine, sliding your heels underneath the pads. Grip on to the handles for balance. Setting a manageable weight, slowly curl your legs upward, so your heels push toward your buttocks. Your feet should be flexed during the movement. Curling upward, the motion should stop when your legs and torso form an angle of roughly 45 degrees. Squeeze your hamstrings during the motion. Slowly release the weight and return to the starting position, as your legs should straighten out. Repeat this movement for 10-12 reps for 3–4 sets.

A leg workout requires optimum intensity, if your intentions are to increase size and strength. Nothing in weight training will wear you out the way a rigorous leg workout will so be sure to provide yourself with ample rest before leg days. Also, legs should be done only once a week to insure time for the torn muscle tissue to recuperate.

Copyright (c) 2007 Al Short