s tough but it’s worth trying! Here are the top four leg-day machine exercises that you shouldn’t miss.
HORIZONTAL SEATED LEG PRESS
If your goals are just to look good or do some basic strength training, the leg machine is a good alternative option to free weight exercises. Leg press machines are common sites in most gyms. Used as an alternative to squats, lunges and other lower body exercises.
START: Adjust the bottom position of the machine and seat yourself. Select an appropriate load for your training, and then plant your feet a little wider than shoulder width on the platform. Grasp the handles, maintaining good spinal position with your chest up and your head looking forward.
FINISH: Driving through the heels of your feet, extend through the hips and knees to push the sled upward. Do not lock out your knees. After holding the top position for a movement, return to the starting position without fully returning the weight to the stack. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
If you want the classic V-taper look, spend some time doing Lat Pull Down to widen your lats. The wide-grip overhand pulldown is actually best for building a wide back. It better stimulates the teres major and upper-lat fibers, which gives the appearance of wide and strong lats.
START: Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the kneepad of the machine to fit your height. Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than shoulder width. As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees.
FINISH: Bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Cable rope hammer curls are great for developing the upper arm. Your biceps, which runs across the front of your upper arm, is the biggest muscle trained when performing cable hammer curls. They also affect the stabilizer muscles greatly.
START: Attach a rope attachment to a low pulley and stand facing the machine about 12 inches away from it. Grasp the rope with a neutral (palms-in) grip and stand straight up keeping the natural arch of the back and your torso stationary. Put your elbows in by your side and keep them there stationary during the entire movement.
FINISH: Using your biceps, pull your arms up as you exhale until your biceps touch your forearms. Tip: Remember to keep the elbows in and your upper arms stationary. After 1 second contraction where you squeeze your biceps, slowly start to bring the weight back to the original position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
The triceps pushdown exercise involves resisting against force to straighten your arms and strengthen your triceps. The rope attachment enables you to target fibers deep within the triceps and to move through a fuller range of motion when you straighten your wrists at the bottom of the exercise.
START: Attach a Rope to a high pulley and grab with an overhand grip (palms facing down) at shoulder width. Standing upright with the torso straight and a very small inclination forward, bring the upper arms close to your body and perpendicular to the floor. The forearms should be pointing up towards the pulley as they hold the bar.
FINISH: Using the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs and the arms are fully extended perpendicular to the floor. The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your torso and only the forearms should move. Exhale as you perform this movement. After a second hold at the contracted position, bring the bar slowly up to the starting point. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
HANGING LEG RAISE
If you’re looking to tone up your core muscles, the hanging leg raise is a great exercise to incorporate into your regimen. The hanging leg raise is a core strength training exercise that involves both the abdominal and oblique muscle groups.
START: Position yourself on the hanging-leg-raise machine with your hands holding the grips and your forearms resting on the padded armrests. Keep your lower back against the back rest and keep your chin down toward your chest. Allow your legs to hang down with heels together, knees soft, and toes turned out.
FINISH: Use your lower abdominal muscles to lift your legs straight up in front of you. Keep lifting until your legs are parallel to the floor and your body is piked at a 90-degree angle. Do not swing your legs or use your lower back to lift. Lower your legs back to the starting position. As you descend, keep your pelvis tucked under to keep the focus on your lower abs. Don’t allow your legs to fall so low that you lose the flex in your stomach and have to use your lower back muscles. When you reach the bottom of the leg raise, reverse and begin your next lift. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
The seated row is one of the most effective exercises for targeting your back muscles. The entire back is exercised in a non-stressful way: the erector spinae in the lower and middle back, the trapezius in the upper back, the rhomboids and latissimus dorsi in the middle back and the teres major in the outer back.
START: Access to a low pulley row machine with a Double Row Handle. Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform or crossbar provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked. Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the Double Row Handle. Your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out. You should be feeling a nice stretch on your lats as you hold the bar in front of you.
FINISH: Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch the abdominals. Breathe out as you perform that movement. At that point, you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the starting position and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.