Revealed! WORST Leg Exercises

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Avoid Smith machine squats. The fixed bar requires an unnatural range of motion that has a negative impact on the lower back and the knees. Hack squats are serviceable at lower weights but stress the knee joints.

For those who prefer to avoid the squat altogether, dumbbell lunges are an effective substitute. This exercise can be performed in place or walking. The benefit to this exercise is a full range of motion that stresses the entire leg group. Heavy resistance is not required as the need to coordinate balance raises the intensity of the exercise. Maintain the upper torso erect with your shoulders back, slightly arched, chest out. Remember, gravity pulls the weight straight to the floor. Work within the concept, not against it.

Leg presses are similar to the squat, but with less hip rotation. The glutes and the hip flexors are less involved. For toning and shaping, avoid heavy weight and low repetitions, which promote overdevelopment of the upper thigh and a rounded appearance.

Use a stance that is high and wide on the foot plate, which places the stress high up on the inner thigh. Presses performed in this manner negate time wasted on abductor and adductor machines, which, unless you are training for lateral movement, are generally useless for toning and shaping. Perform three or four sets of 15 to 20 repetitions using resistance that does not require an all-out effort to complete the set.