Leg Exercise Equipment

What is the favorite part of your fitness routine?

Whatever it is, we bet that the answer you give us is somewhat of a mixed one.

But out of all the different body parts, one day is often a love or hate activity, which is the day dedicated to lower body exercises.

However, everyone should do leg exercises, as they work your main muscle groups and help your body performance in general. There are many benefits to doing them.

Let’s face it, we’d be lost without our leg muscles!

To help have a great workout and target your legs, today, we’re going to cover the best leg exercise equipment. Trust us, after reading this, we’re confident skipping leg day will never be a problem again.

Which is the Best Gym Equipment for Legs?

When you’re new to a gym or just enter a gym with lots of state-of-the-art equipment, it can be a little confusing on your leg day to know the best machines to use. There’s so much choice of cardio machines, small exercise machines, accessories, and more. It can be a little overwhelming to choose what to use. Don’t worry – here is some of the leg equipment to add intensity for a good workout.

Seated Leg Curl Machine

seated-leg-curl-machine

This machine is a great option for a leg workout. It helps strengthen and tone your legs, especially your inner hamstrings. It involves you sitting down on a seat and performing leg curls, pulling against a padded bar. Then release the pressure, returning the bar to the original position.

Level of workout activity: Low

Pros:

  • Not technical to use
  • Easy to adjust the weight
  • You don’t have to stand up to use it
  • Improves stability and can stretch your legs
  • Improves mind-muscle connection in the lower body

Cons:

  • The pressure is often unevenly distributed
  • Sometimes the back pad can be uncomfortable
  • Adjusting the seating pad can be a bit of a hassle
  • It’s a big machine, so not great for small spaces such as home gyms

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: Don’t use if you have any hamstring or leg injuries

Usage tips: One of the best machines to engage your hamstrings more by pointing your toes upwards. Try alternating your leg curls to target more muscles. Make sure you have the optimal seat height when doing leg curls.

Inner/Outer Thigh Machine

inner-outer-thigh machineThis is an exercise you do sitting, where you move your legs in and out. The machine works by using resistance to push against your legs. When you open them, it abducts them, and when you close them, it adducts them. In particular, it helps isolate your gluteus medius and other specific leg muscles. This is done when you open your legs and your inner thigh muscles when closing.

Level of workout activity: Medium

Pros:

  • Anyone can use it
  • You can use it while sitting

Cons:

  • Not a suitable piece of equipment for a home gym
  • There’s a range of alternative exercises you can do which are equally effective
  • Doesn’t replicate real-life movements

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: Don’t use it if you have hip problems. It can cause more pain.

Usage tips: Maintain your torso in an upright position, and start training with a light weight.

Hack Squat Machine

hack-squat-machineAlso called an incline squat machine, it’s for doing squats, which isolate your quadriceps muscles. This is done by placing your body backward at an angle and performing squats. The hack squat machine also targets the hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Level of workout activity: High

Pros:

  • One of the best machines to improve your athletic ability
  • Improves your squat form during leg exercises
  • Builds mainly your quads and core strength

Cons:

  • Sometimes your shoulders can hurt more than your legs
  • It can cause trouble if you can’t move your hands back up

Beginner-friendly: No

Suitable for elders: No

Dangerous for: If you have a stiff lower back, it can cause discomfort and be difficult to perform the exercise.

Usage tips: Always use with a shoulder-width stance and place your desired weight on the machine. Then, when you’re lowering the weight towards you, make sure you do it slowly, so it does not cause too much pressure. Moreover, ensure that you keep lowering the weight till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Only use a hack squat machine if you’re okay with doing barbell squats. You must get your form correct before using this machine.

Leg Extension Machine

leg-extention-machineThis machine involves sitting on a seat or a bench. You then move your legs against resistance weights attached to a cable. The leg extensions work your quads.

Level of workout activity: Medium

Pros:

  • You can exercise while sitting down
  • Tones the front of your thighs
  • Strengthens your tissues and ligaments

Cons:

  • Only works the quads
  • Places a lot of pressure on knees

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: People with knee issues

Usage tips: Begin by loading the machine with a light weight and gradually increasing it while training.

Hip Abduction Machine

hip abduction machineIt allows you to sit down and move your legs, and open up your hips. You move your legs forward, backward, and sideways. It works your hip abductors, outer thighs, and glutes.

Level of workout activity: Low

Pros:

  • Strengthens many secondary muscles in the legs
  • Stabilizes your knees
  • Easy to adjust the resistance weight on these machines

Cons:

  • If used regularly, it can increase the chance of pain behind the knee
  • Can add friction to the knee, ankle, and foot

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: Anyone with hip or foot issues

Usage tips: Be in an upright position and have your back to the spinal pad when using. Start with light weights before progressing to heavier ones. Plus, make sure you pause at the bottom before pushing the machine upwards.

Elliptical

ellipticalThe elliptical is a type of cardio machine, also known as a cross trainer, and it’s a stationary piece of gym equipment. The elliptical mimics the motion of stair climbing, running, and walking without having to place large amounts of stress on your knees and hips. It allows your arms and legs to move in a forward and backward motion. Desk elliptical models are also available for home/office cardio training.

Level of workout activity: Low

Pros:

  • It burns a lot of calories
  • Boosts your stamina
  • Burns body fat
  • It strengthens your legs
  • Easy to adjust the resistance level
  • A desk elliptical can be used anywhere

Cons:

  • It does not help gain muscle strength easily
  • It’s not the best machine for everyone
  • The forward/backward motion can become boring
  • Not good for upper body strength

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: If you have bad knees, don’t use this machine.

Usage tips: Always stand upright when using the machine and when moving forward or backward. Remember never to lean on the handles or stand on your toes while using this machine; it won’t be beneficial.

Standing Calf Raise Machine

standing calf rise machineThis machine allows you to stand on the balls of your feet, flex your calves, and raise the weight. It maintains resistance on your toes while you lift the weights. This machine works your calves. It’s effective even using light weights.

Level of workout activity: Low

Pros:

  • Improve ankle strength and stability
  • Strengthen calf muscles
  • Improve balance and torso strength
  • Easy to adjust the resistance weight on these machines

Cons:

  • The same exercise can be done without using a machine
  • Stops full range of muscle movement

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: If you have back problems, see a doctor first, as this exercise could compress your spine.

Usage tips: Extend your feet as you flex your calves to get full movement. Don’t place a heavy load on the machine, as you could rupture your hamstring.

Leg Press

leg pressOut of all the different exercise machines, the leg press is often seen as the most popular. Leg press machines build leg mass and strength. It involves you lying down and pressing a plate upwards with your legs. The plate is attached to weight, usually free weights such as plates.

Level of workout activity: Medium

Pros:

  • Good for beginners
  • Contributes to stronger leg bones
  • Prevents injury from occurring
  • You can vary your foot position to target different muscle groups

Cons:

  • Sometimes one leg can be worked more than the other
  • You could hurt your back if the weight is too heavy

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: People with back issues or anyone who has recently undergone spinal surgery.

Usage tips: Always sit with your back flat and rest it while using, so it’s not compromised. When using a leg press machine, make sure your legs are always at a 90-degree angle before you push. Your buttocks should be flat against the seat; if they aren’t, you could cramp up easily. Plus, remember to raise your head and keep breathing while pushing so you don’t blackout.

Smith Machine Squat

smith machine squatSmith machines make squatting more effective, as it allows you to squat without a spotter. It’s a fixed barbell on rails that you can move up or down while doing a squat. The machine targets your lats, triceps, quads, pectorals, deltoids, and more.

Level of workout activity: High

Pros:

  • It helps isolate your upper body
  • You don’t need a spotter
  • It helps stop you from falling forward and improves your squat form

Cons:

  • Sometimes a fixed bar can be uncomfortable
  • You can’t remove the barbell
  • The machine isn’t as versatile as a typical barbell
  • Only targets certain muscles

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: If you have back issues, don’t use it for leg workouts.

Usage tips: Avoid using heavy weights that put unnecessary pressure on your spine. It’s important not to get too dependent on Smith machines – use small exercise equipment like free weights once in a while as an alternative.

Best Cardio Machines for Legs

Rowing Machine

rowing machineOne cardio machine to focus on is the rowing machine. Rowing machines are used to simulate the movement of a real-life rowing boat and rowing oars. These machines provide tremendous intensity for resistance training. It involves pulling on a cable connected to a wheel while moving your legs and bottom on a seat. This is a cardiovascular machine that targets your quadriceps, glutes, triceps, lats, and forearms. It targets the largest muscles in your body.

Level of workout activity: Medium

Pros:

  • It burns a lot of energy
  • Easy-to-perform exercise
  • Low impact on joints
  • It targets your whole body
  • Contributes to a better posture
  • Variable intensity for all levels of fitness

Cons:

  • Only good for commercial gyms
  • Risk of back injury if you don’t have proper form

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: Anyone with severe knee or back injuries should not use it for leg workouts.

Usage tips: Keep your legs straight, elbows bent, and pull the handle to your chest. To see good results using the rowing machine, you should use it 4-6 times a week. Always keep your back straight and never slump when using it, as you could injure yourself.

Stair Climber

stair climberStair climber machines or steppers are stationary cardiovascular training machines. They mimic the motion of climbing stairs. A stair climber, stepper, or mini-stepper machine has different incline and intensity intervals for a range of workouts. A stair climber or stepper will focus on working your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core.

Level of workout activity: High

Pros:

  • Strengthens main muscle groups
  • Increases core and cardio strength
  • Easy-to-perform exercise
  • The mini stepper is a versatile piece of equipment

Cons:

  • It only works your leg and core muscles
  • If you have bone problems, it might increase your chance of other injuries

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: No

Dangerous for: People suffering from bone and joint problems should not use the stepping machine for leg workouts.

Usage tips: Always monitor your heart rate when using and maintain your posture while using it. Most people start at a low incline before progressing onto any intense speed or movement. Always take suitable rest after workouts so that you don’t get too out of breath.

Treadmill

treadmillA treadmill is a stationary running machine where you can run or walk on a rolling platform at different inclines and speeds. Additionally, a treadmill works your leg joints, upper body and increases your cardiovascular endurance. A treadmill also comes with a digital monitor or LCD monitor. It has a range of programs you can focus on while walking or running. Under-desk treadmill models are also available for home/office use.

Level of workout activity: Medium-high

Pros:

  • A treadmill is easy-to-use exercise equipment
  • One of the best benefits is that it can burn calories quickly
  • You can perform custom programs to help target your legs and exercise
  • Allows control over inclination while exercising (many brands offer eight levels or more)
  • You can add intensity, speed, warm-up, cool down, and more
  • The under-desk treadmill is very versatile

Cons:

  • They’re expensive
  • It does not simulate real-life terrain
  • It can have a high impact on your knees, so be careful if you have knee injuries

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: No

Dangerous for: Be careful if you have asthma or any breathing difficulties as it could trigger them.

Usage tips: Don’t hunch your shoulders when you walk or run, as it might give you neck, back, and shoulder pain. Be careful how you place your feet on the cushioned surface as it could cause pain in your hip, knee, feet, and ankles. For safety, always ensure the platform is stationary before getting on.

Upright Exercise Bike

upright-exercise-bikeThis is a stationary recumbent bike that you sit on and cycle. Using this machine keeps your legs close to your body and works all your leg muscles and cardiovascular endurance. These exercise bikes are portable as most of them can fold away. This is such a comfortable piece of equipment you can do this while watching TV and increase your metabolic state at the same time.

Level of workout activity: Low

Pros:

  • Strengthens the lower body muscles
  • This exercise equipment can burn body fat quickly
  • A great form of cardiovascular fitness
  • It helps with toning

Cons:

  • The upright bike cause backache if used for too long
  • If you use the upright bike for a long time, it can contribute to neck ache

Beginner-friendly: Yes

Suitable for elders: Yes

Dangerous for: Anyone with back issues should not use this exercise equipment for leg workouts.

Usage tips: Make sure you adjust the seat so that your legs are in the optimal position on the pedals.

How to Choose the Best Leg Training Machine for Your Needs?

gym equipment for legs

Before you hop on a leg machine at the gym, you must think about each machine and the goal you wish to achieve. To help you, it would be best if you thought about the following before doing leg workouts and other exercises:

  • Goals: Before you go on a machine, think about what goals you wish to achieve in your workout program. For instance, do you want to increase your leg strength? Perhaps you want to increase your cardiovascular endurance? Whatever it is, think about it wisely, as this will help you select the best equipment to contribute to your goals.
  • Muscles: Think about the type of leg muscles that you wish to work out in your lower body when exercising. The type of muscles you choose might influence what to use. For example, if you want to strengthen your glutes, focus on using a Smith machine for muscle building.
  • Spotter: You definitely shouldn’t skip your lower body exercises! But, sometimes, it can be hard doing specific weighted exercises without having support or someone to watch you. You don’t want to suffer an injury because of too much weight. Therefore, choose a machine that doesn’t require a spotter.
  • Ability: Always consider your exercise ability before using machines. Some leg machines may require more experience to use them properly. If you don’t have much experience with exercises or equipment, get your form correct first before using them.
  • Conduct research: In addition to knowing about the best exercise machine for your goals and target muscle groups, you must check the machine also. Try and look for reviews online or ask your gym buddies about their opinions to see how helpful the equipment is and how it might benefit you.

Conclusion

Overall, you should never skip your leg workouts as part of your fitness routine. You can choose to use cardio machines, free weights, weighted machines, and even upper body resistance bands for a great leg workout. There’s a versatile range of equipment out there you can use. Before using exercise equipment for legs, you should think about your goals, the muscle groups you want to target, and your ability.

Try to mix and match your exercises, plus your push and pull workouts, so your leg workouts don’t become boring. But, to be effective, try and use them a few times a week to start seeing results in your lower body. Remember to add other exercise equipment such as resistance bands into your workouts to make them more challenging and varied.

FAQ

What machine is best for slimming legs?

If you’re looking to tone or slim your legs, you can use a bunch of equipment as part of your fitness routine to better your health and get yourself into shape. One of the machines that can help if you use it continuously when you attend the gym is the elliptical machine. This machine can help with toning your legs and give you a good cardiovascular workout.

In addition to this, treadmills are also good because they can help boost your heart rate and burn many calories doing different exercises. If you use treadmills, it will help tone your thighs, the back of your legs, and your upper body too.

What leg exercise machine works the most muscles?

Are you looking for a good leg workout and full-body workout? You should consider using a compound machine like a rowing machine. The reason for this is that this machine requires you to move your whole body. The routine strengthens your legs, core, and upper body. In particular, it focuses on your quadriceps, glutes, triceps, lats, and forearms. Plus, it’s a great calorie burner.

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