Buff thighs and calves help you look sexy and feel confident no matter what you wear. Leg presses, which are typically performed on a weight machine at the gym, effectively tone and build the quads, hamstrings and calves. But you don't need professional equipment to reap the benefits of leg presses. Substitute a resistance band to do leg presses at home.
Warm up your muscles before you perform resistance band leg presses to prevent injury to your muscles. March in place or take a five-minute relaxed walk to prepare your body for exercise.
Stretch your calf muscles gently by leaning into a wall. Stand about 2 feet away from the wall while resting your forearms against it at nose level. Place your left foot about 6 to 12 inches ahead of the right foot. Bend your left knee about 45 degrees as you lean toward the wall with your entire body. Keep your right leg straight, and do not bounce as you hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch on the other side.
Prepare your quadriceps for leg presses by stretching them. Stand about 1 foot away from a wall. Maintain balance by resting your right hand on the wall at face level. Bend your left knee, and bring your left foot up behind you toward your bottom. Reach around your left side with your left hand to grasp your left ankle. Lean about 20 degrees toward the wall as you gently pull your left foot toward your buttocks to feel the stretch on the front of your left thigh. Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds without bouncing, and then repeat on the other side.
Lie down on your back to get into the starting position for resistance band leg presses. Hold one end of the band in each hand.
Bend your right knee, and then raise it to your chest. Place your right foot against the center of the resistance band while holding the band taut.
Push your right foot against the resistance of the band to straighten your leg. Keep your back straight and your left leg flat on the floor throughout the exercise.
Bring your right foot back toward your chest to complete one repetition. Perform eight to 24 reps on each leg.
Finish by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Flex and point your toes eight times, and then bend at the waist to touch your toes. Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
- See your physician before you start any new fitness program to make sure the exercises you plan to do are safe for you.
- Never lock your knees when performing leg presses. Keep a soft bend in your knee even when your leg is fully extended.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.