If you want to improve the shape of your hips and thighs -- and who doesn't -- then perform leg press exercises. The lying and seated leg presses are very similar in movement, but when you are seated, you work your butt and hamstrings, or rear thigh muscles, whereas the lying leg press works your quadriceps, or front thigh muscles.
Seated Leg Press
Sit on the leg press machine with your back up against the seat. Set the weight stack to an appropriate weight.
Put your feet up on the vertical platform and push it out until your knees are straight. Keep your feet pressed against the platform at all times. Do not lift your heels or your toes off the platform during the motion.
Bend your hips and knees to about 90 degrees, bringing the platform toward you.
Extend your hips and knees until they are almost fully straight.
Lying Leg Press
Set the weight stack and lie face up on the bench of the machine.
Put your feet up on the vertical platform with your knees bent at about 90 degrees. Keep your feet pressed on the platform at all times.
Extend your hips and knees until they are straight, pushing the platform out.
Bend your hips and knees until they are back to a 90-degree angle, your starting position.
- Utilize a variety of rep ranges to get the most out of your leg press training. Higher reps help you build the endurance of your hip and thigh muscles, while a lower rep range will allow you to sculpt their musculature and improve your curves. Do four sets per leg press exercise. Two sets should consists of 15 to 25 reps with lighter weights, and the other two sets of eight to 12 reps with a heavier load.
- Always maintain a specific breathing pattern when doing leg presses, or any other exercise, for that matter. Inhale during the preparation phase, then exhale during the exertion phase. Holding your breath could cause serious complications, including a rise in blood pressure.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.