There is an ongoing argument about using leg exercise equipment as opposed to doing free weights. The fact is, in my opinion at least, free weights wins out almost every time for leg exercises. This is not to say that exercise machines do not have their place, however if you want to build a great strong body, the most effective way is to lift a lot of weights with a lot of different muscles. Compound exercises with dumbbells and barbells will more often than not achieve this.
Free Weights Vs Equipment
The biggest issue that I see with most machines is the fact that they are isolation exercises. Although these certainly have their place in training, as a general rule if you are trying to build muscle, get strong and lose weight, then you need to be doing compound exercises, using a lot of muscles, and building a lot of weight. Lets look at the advantages of doing compound exercises, which are ones that use more than one joint and consequently a lot of muscle.
More Strength: When you work with more than one joint, you can lift more weight. You have more muscles involved, a greater platform to work from, and you can consequently lift heavier. lifting heavy gets you results, without a doubt. Most people don’t lift even close to heavy enough. You have to learn to push yourself, big weights with big muscles will gain you more strength overall.
More Muscles: More muscles become involved in compound exercises, which means a more effective workout. you can lift more weight, and get more muscles involved. This is also a time saver. You spend a lot less time in the gym when you do a leg workout that involves a lot of exercises focussing on different muscles.
More Calories: If weight loss is your goal, then getting more muscles involved is a more intense workout, and will without a doubt burn more calories.
Great Free Weights Leg Exercises
Some great exercises that you can do with free weights that will target a lot of muscles, and also help you to build strength and reach your goals faster are
Squat: This is the ultimate exercise however needs to be done properly. Start light, and learn the technique, but once you have that down pat, you can start to lift heavier weight. This works nearly every muscles in your legs, but specifically is great for the bum and quads. You can do variations such as the overhead squat to get more range at the start.
Deadlift: This is another great exercise involving the whole lower body, quads, glutes, back, hammies, it has it all.
Step-ups: Check out how to do step ups to find out more about this great exercise.
These are only a few of some great lower body exercises that you can do that will basically hit everything. You get more gains in less time. Also check out bum exercises and leg workout for some more information on exercises.
The Best Leg Exercise Equipment
If there is one machine I use a lot it is the leg press. This exercise enables you to get strong, put a heap of weight on, without knowing too much technique. it is a great strength exercise initially, and uses a lot of your lower body muscles. You can chuck a lot more weight on there than you realise and you will get strength gains from it very quickly.