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Leg exercises

The legs are a complex set of major muscle groups including the:

  • Quadrcieps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

The quadriceps are a group of four muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedialis. The 'quads' run along the entire length of the front of the thighs, starting at the hip joint and ending at the knee joint and their primary function is to flex the hip and extend the knee, key movements in running, bending down, walking and kicking.

At back of the thighs, running from the hip joint to the knee joint, are the hamstrings. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles: biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. The hamstrings are used in flexing the knee joint, supporting the quadriceps and during lateral movements of the leg.

The calf muscles runs down from behind the knee joint to the Achilles tendon. The two muscles that make up the calves are the gastrocnemius and soleus. The primary function of the calves is to extend the foot during walking, running, pedalling and jumping etc.

Below are a number of exercises which will allow you to exercise each part of your leg muscles. Simply click on the name of an exercise to watch a free video demonstration of that exercise.

Leg exercises: Video demonstrations

 Leg extensions
 Leg extensions (one leg)
 Leg press
 Lunges
 Lunges (Dumbbell)
 Lying leg curls
 One legged leg press
 Seated calf raises
 Smith machine front squats
 Smith machine lunges
 Smith machine squats
 Squats
 Squats with dumbbells
 Standing calf raises
 Standing calf raises (Dumbbell)
 Standing leg curls
 Stiff-legged deadlift
 Stiff-legged deadlift (Dumbbell)
 Toe raises

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