3 Leg Exercises For the Gym (And How To Do Them)!
While I absolutely love being able to workout outdoors or at home, sometimes I really enjoy a good session at the gym.
Today I want to share three of my favourite gym-based leg exercises as well as a brief explanation of how to do them. You can find all of these exercises plus more - in my programs in the Sweat app.
3 Gym-Based Leg Exercises
If you're planning to hit the gym to work on your legs, make sure you give these three leg exercises a try!
1. Leg Press
This exercise is similar to a squat, except it’s in a seated position! Like a squat, it is a compound exercise, which means it works a number of large muscles / muscle groups at the same time.
A conventional leg press (feet shoulder-width apart) works all of the major muscles in your legs — Including your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes.
How to do a leg press
- Take a seat in the leg press and place your feet on the foot plate about shoulder-width apart. Use the handle to remove the leg press from its locked position.
- Slowly bend your knees and allow the foot plate to lower in towards you. Press through your heels and extend your legs to push the plate away.
- Repeat this process for 12-15 repetitions before returning the leg press to its locked position.
One thing I love about the leg press is that you can also mix up this exercise by changing your foot position. For example:
- Position your feet a little wider with toes pointing outwards (sumo) to help target your glutes more.
- Position your feet closer together to target your quads.
- And if you’re up for a challenge, remove one foot and work one leg at a time. Just be mindful that you won’t be able to use the same amount of weight for this one!
The leg press can be one of the most popular machines at the gym, so if it's busy and you don't want to wait for it to free up, try one of these leg press alternatives.
2. Smith Static Lunge
For those of you that have followed my original program, this exercise is very similar to a Barbell Lunge. However, using a Smith machine takes the stress out of getting a barbell on and off your back (especially if you’re someone that prefers to lift heavier weights).
How to do a smith static lunge
- Set the Smith bar to about chin height. Position yourself under the bar, allowing it to rest on your shoulders.
- Press up into the bar to release it from its locked position and step one foot forward and the other backwards into a split stance. Make sure your feet are about shoulder-width apart.
- Bend both knees to about 90 degrees and into a lunge. Extend your legs to return to a standing position.
- Repeat this process for 10-12 repetitions before swapping sides, then return the Smith machine to its locked position.
With this exercises, you can add weight plates on either end of the bar to make it a little more challenging!
3. Standing Glute Kickback
Kickbacks are an easy exercise to get used to, because they pretty much mirror a movement that your legs do every day! To add some resistance and really work your glutes, I absolutely love using the cables. Standing glute kickbacks are a great way to activate your glutes and target your butt.
How to do a standing glute kickback
- Attach an ankle wrap to the end of the cable cord and then one of your ankles before setting the resistance on the weight stack. Place your hands on the pole in front of your chest and take a small step backwards, standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- While keeping your leg straight and foot flexed, extend the leg with the ankle wrap back behind you. Lower your leg to return to standing.
- Repeat this process for 10-12 repetitions before swapping sides.
If you want more exercises to target your glutes, check out more of my favourite glute exercises.
Don’t forget to let me know what you thought of these leg exercise suggestions! Do you want to see some more gym-based workouts? Let me know in the comments!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.