You want firm, sexy, sculpted legs but squats, lunges and running aren't doing the job. A cable cross machine can help you achieve strong, toned legs in less time than body-weight exercises alone. A cable cross machine makes your leg muscles work hard and puts your core through a good workout, too. You don't get to sit down when doing cable cross machine leg workouts, so your core stability is challenged and improved. Do cable cross machine leg workouts three times each week and rest your legs one day between workouts.
Cable Cross Machine
A cable cross machine is that odd-looking piece of exercise equipment that you see other people using when you are at the gym. It's sort of like a combination of a cable pulley and lever machines. You can adjust cable cross machines to your current fitness level and add or remove weight on the back of the machine where the cables attach to the weight stack. The machine has two cables with handles, which you can use simultaneously to work both sides of the body, or use only one side. It's easier to use a cable cross machine than you might think. After a few minutes of instruction, you will be working up a sweat on this machine in no time.
Hip Abduction and Adduction
Your thighs are difficult to slim and tone, especially if you tend to put on body fat around the hips and thighs. Women may gain weight around their hips and thighs called “passive fat,” which doesn't give up easily. Passive fat serves as fuel during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so it's meant to stay on your thighs and hips in case you need it. No matter how many squats you do, you just can't seem to tame your thighs. Performing hip abduction and adduction exercises using a cable cross machine works your troublesome inner and outer thighs for a firmer, slimmer appearance. Hip-abduction exercises work your outer thighs to help get rid of those annoying saddle bags. Hip-adduction exercises work your inner thighs. Set the machine arm to the lowest setting and wrap the handle of one cable around your ankle to perform these exercises. Do one set of eight to 12 repetitions with each leg.
The side lunge is an exercise that will work all of your leg muscles. Your butt and core will get a good workout as well. Since you do lunges for leg toning and strengthening anyway, try them on a cable crossover machine. Place about 10 to 15 pounds of weight on the cables and face the machine. Grab one handle with both hands and stand with your side facing the machine. Lunge as you pull the weight with your arms. Adding the resistance of the cable crossover machine to your lunge is going to give you maximum results in a lot less time than lunging alone. Do one set of eight to 12 repetitions lunging with your left leg and again with your right leg.
Leg curls work the back of your legs for strong and shapely hamstrings. Stand facing the cable crossover machine and loop one of the cable handles over your foot and position it across your lower leg just above your heel. Step back until there is a little tension on the cable. Hold on to the sides of the machine for stability and curl your leg up toward your butt by bending your knee. It's that easy to get firm, toned hamstring muscles. Add as much weight as you can curl with your leg for one set of eight to 12 repetitions before you can't do anymore, and then switch to the other leg and repeat.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.