List of Gym Exercises for Legs

You'll find on this page a selection of leg exercises that are performed using gym-type equipment, that is equipment you normally find in commercial gyms. These equipments are generally built for a specific exercise and are quite effective at isolating the muscles targeted.

There are 18 such exercises and each is presented using helpful animated images as well as comparison notes.

  1. Leg Extension
  2. One-at-a-Time Leg Extension
  3. Seated Leg Curl
  4. Prone Leg Curl
  5. One-at-a-Time Prone Leg Curl
  6. Leg Press
  7. Incline Leg Press
  8. Squat
  9. Seated Hip Adduction
  10. Standing Hip Adduction
  11. Standing Hip Adduction using Low Pulley
  12. Seated Hip Abduction
  13. Standing Hip Abduction
  14. Standing Hip Abduction using Low Pulley
  15. Calf Raise on Calf Bench
  16. Calf Raise on Leg Press
  17. High Calf Raise on Universal Leg Machine
  18. Low Calf Raise on Universal Leg Machine

Leg Extension

Leg Extension
  • The Leg Extension is the quintessential leg exercise and will allow you to target your quadriceps which are located in front of you thighs.

  • You perform by simply sitting on the bench and by extending your legs up.

One-at-a-Time Leg Extension

One-at-a-Time Leg Extension
  • The One-at-a-Time Leg Extension is a variation on the two legged leg extension exercise.

  • As with its source it will allow you to target the quadriceps muscles located in front of your thighs.

Seated Leg Curl

Seated Leg Curl
  • The Seated Leg Curl is similar to the Leg Extension in that you sit on a bench and move your feet along the pivots formed by your knees.

  • However, you push your feet down towards your buttocks and the muscles targeted here are the hamstring muscles, which are located at the back of your thighs.

Prone Leg Curl

Prone Leg Curl
  • The Prone Leg Curl is a variation on the Leg Curl leg exercise in which you lie prone on a bench instead of being seated.

  • The movements are the same in both case, they target your hamstrings equally but sometimes gyms have one type of machines and not the other.

One-at-a-Time Prone Leg Curl

One-at-a-Time Prone Leg Curl
  • The One-at-a-Time Leg Curl is a close variation where you pull your feet towards your buttocks using one leg at a time.

  • It can seem quite stressing on your hamstring muscles to exercise this way but some people find the variation useful.

Leg Press

Leg Press
  • The Leg Press is a leg exercise similar to the squat but where you use gym-type equipment to give resistance to your legs as they are pushing.

  • Like the squat, the leg press will develop the muscles located in front of your thighs (quadriceps) and in your buttocks (glutes).

Incline Leg Press

Incline Leg Press
  • The Incline Leg Press exercise uses a different contraption that puts you in a position to push weight up using your legs.

  • This exercise is very popular although special attention needs to be taken so as not to let the weights lower too low to a level where you could become stuck, that is not able to push the weights away.

Squat

Squat
  • The Squat leg exercise uses a gym-type contraption that will allow you to push yourself away like you would in a traditional barbell squat.

  • Some machines like the one shown here will have you lying on your back in order to isolate your thighs and glutes.

Seated Hip Adduction

Seated Hip Adduction
  • The Seated Hip Adduction is a great exercise to use if you are looking to strengthen the muscles located in your inner thighs.

  • In it you simply try to bring your legs closer to one another by squeezing them together.

Standing Hip Adduction

Standing Hip Adduction
  • The Standing Hip Adduction is quite similar to its seated variant but will require you to work one leg at a time while you stand on the other.

  • It is another great way to strengthen the muscles located in your inner thighs.

Standing Hip Adduction using Low Pulley

Standing Hip Adduction using Low Pulley
  • This variation of the Hip Adduction leg exercise uses a low pulley system and requires the same movement of bringing the leg attached to the pulley towards the other.

  • You'll again strengthen your inner thigh muscles by using this exercise.

Seated Hip Abduction

Seated Hip Abduction
  • The Seated Hip Abduction can be considered the opposite of the Hip Adduction exercise.

  • In it instead of bringing your legs closer to one another you are pushing them further from each other.

Standing Hip Abduction

Standing Hip Abduction
  • The Standing Hip Abduction exercise lets you strengthen the muscles located in your hips.

  • You perform by pushing the lever outwardly using your leg that should remain straight throughout.

Standing Hip Abduction using Low Pulley

Standing Hip Abduction using Low Pulley
  • Finally the Standing Hip Abduction on a Low Pulley exercise lets you strengthen your hip muscles using a low pulley and cable system.

  • You perform is as you do other hip abduction exercises by pushing your leg away from the other.

Calf Raise on Calf Bench

Calf Raise on Calf Bench
  • The Calf Raise exercises featured here uses a specially designed bench for calf muscles.

  • By putting your toes on the step and pushing the weight pads straight up will target the calf muscles very effectively.

Calf Raise on Leg Press

Calf Raise on Leg Press
  • The Calf Raise can also be performed using the leg press equipment.

  • You sit down on it as you normally would but instead of flexing your knees to allow the weight to move up and down you try to push and release the foot support using only the balls of your feet.

High Calf Raise on Universal Leg Machine

High Calf Raise on Universal Leg Machine
  • The High Calf Raise featured here uses the Universal Leg Machine and requires you to place the ball of your feet on the high pads (if available).

  • Similarly to other calf exercise you'll be able to target your calves very effectively by using this exercise.

Low Calf Raise on Universal Leg Machine

Low Calf Raise on Universal Leg Machine
  • The Low Calf Raise also uses the Universal Leg Machine but requires you to place the balls of your feet on the lower pads of two (if available).

  • You may find the low position to be more comfortable than the high one and may give you a wider range of motion that could enable you to target your calf muscles more effectively.

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