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Video:Weight Lifting Leg Exercises

with Jonathon E. Stewart

When you hit the weights, don't neglect your lower body, which is full of great big muscles that need love, too. Check out these weight training exercises for your legs.See Transcript

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Transcript:Weight Lifting Leg Exercises

Hey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Quads, hammies, calves, and glutes - today we're talking about your legs. And while you may know how to use 'em, here's how you use 'em at the gym! Check it out.

Start a Leg Workout Routine

Working your legs is a fantastic way to rev up your metabolism, since leg muscles are so large and require a lot of oxygen when they're exercising. Be sure to breathe deeply when you're working out your legs, and you'll see measurable gains quickly.

For today's exercises, start out with three sets of 10 repetitions of each, with about 30 to 60 seconds in between each set. Use a light weight that will allow you to finish all 30 reps without too much difficulty. You can always adjust your weights and reps later as you get more familiar with the exercises. Be very, very conscious of form with these so you keep your body safe and sound.

Weight Lifting Leg Press

Using the leg press machine is a great way to work out the major muscles in your legs, with a minimized risk of injury. Start by settling into the leg press chair and placing your feet firmly on the platform. Most machines have a lever that will release the weight - make sure your legs are extended but bent just slightly so you don't damage your knees. Pull the lever, then slowly bend your legs until your knees are at a 90 degree angle, then press the weight back up. Continue for 10 repetitions, then at the top of your final press, reset the lever and rest the weight on the safety catch.

Most leg press machines have written instructions on how the lever works - be sure you read and understand them fully before releasing the weight. And, make absolutely sure the weight is locked in place before removing your legs from the platform.

Weight Lifting Half Squat

Using a rack and a barbell, make sure the weight is about upper chest height before beginning, then position the bar squarely on the meat of your upper back. Raise the weight enough to clear the rack and step forward so your feet are about shoulder width apart. When you are completely balanced, keep your back straight, and bend your knees until they reach a 90 degree angle, then press your legs back to full extension. Be careful not to lock your knees once again, then repeat. After your last rep, carefully back the weight into the rack, and lower it until it's firmly in place.

Weight Lifting Barbell Deadlift

This time, start with the barbell on the floor and square your feet about shoulder width apart, directly below the weight. Keeping your back straight, grab the barbell with a wide overhand grip, then lift the weight up by straightening your knees and hips. Keep your arms extended and as the weight approaches your thighs, bring your shoulders back to finish the rep. Carefully bend your knees once again and return the weight to the floor, then repeat.

Weight Lifting Legs Tips

It's never a bad idea to have a partner spot you for any weight lifting exercise, to make sure you maintain your form and avoid dropping weights on your toes, or anywhere else for that matter. As you get these exercises under your belt, don't hesitate to branch out to others - routinely mixing it up is one of the best ways to keep your muscles in tip top shape.

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