Leg Strength Training is an important part of a total-body workout routine to promote a healthy body and a stronger back. Leg Strength Training suggestions provided by the back and neck specialists at the KBNI.

Leg Strengthening Exercises

For Sciatica Leg Pain

Leg muscles are often neglected in favor of the upper body during strength training routines, but leg strength exercises are an important part of any strength building workout.

The Basic Leg Muscles

  • Quadriceps - located on the front of the thigh, the quadriceps, with the hamstrings, help stabilize the knee and are needed for running, jumping, and pushing
  • Adductor and Abductor Muscles - located on the inside and outside of the legs, respectively, these muscles are needed to bring the legs together or apart
  • Hamstrings - located on the back side of the thigh, hamstrings, with the quadriceps, help stabilize the knee and are needed to kick the leg back

Important Leg Exercise Tips

  • Warm up first
  • Stretch before and after a leg workout
  • Don't lock your knees during the leg strengthening exercises; this is cheating and doesn't provide the full strain to the muscles you are trying to strengthen. It can also cause serious knee injuries.

Below are some leg strengthening exercises to help build stronger, leaner legs.

REMINDER: Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. If pain develops, stop immediately and notify your physician.

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  • Leg Extension
  • Seated Leg Curl
  • Leg Press
  • Seated Calve Raise
  • Body Weight Squat

Leg Extension

Leg Extension
Sit down with your butt and back firmly against the seat. Adjust the pad by your feet so it is right above your ankles. Your knees will be at about a 90-degree angle in the starting position and a 180-degree angle in the finishing position. Hold for a second at 180 degrees, then lower back to the 90-degree angle. Hold on to the handles that are on the side of the seat so your butt doesn’t come off the seat.

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Seated Leg Curl

Seated Leg Curl
Sit down with your butt and back flat against the seat. Adjust the pad by your feet so it is on the backside of your ankles. The starting position of your knees will be at about a 180-degree angle. Curl your feet towards your butt and finish with your legs at about a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower the weight back up to the starting position and repeat.

Leg Strength Training - Seated Leg Curl

Leg Press

Leg Press
Sit down with your back flat against the seat. Push the weight up and release the safety bars. Your legs are at about a 180-degree angle in the starting position. If you use extremely heavy weights, use caution in locking your knees out. Lower the weight down so that your legs finish at a 90-degree angle. Do not bring the weight lower than this as your lower back may start to come off of the seat and cause lower back discomfort. Be sure to hold on to the handles on the side of the seat to avoid sliding off the seat.

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Seated Calve Raise

Seated Calve Raise
Sit down and adjust the pad so that you are just able to get your knees under it and place the balls of your feet on the foot support. Raise your heels towards the ceiling as if you were standing on your toes and release the safety support. Lower your heals towards the ground as far as you can, then proceed to raise your heels back towards the ceiling. When you are done, make sure to put the safety bar back before releasing the weight.

Leg Strength Training - Seated Calve Raise Leg Strength Training - Seated Calve Raise

Body Weight Squat

Body Weight Squat
Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed out. Have a chair or a bench directly behind you and bend at your knees while lowering your butt to the seat. Touch your butt to the seat without sitting down and stand back up. It is important to keep your chest out and stomach tight while performing this exercise to take pressure off your lower back.

Leg Strength Training - Body Weight Squat Leg Strength Training - Body Weight Squat Leg Strength Training - Body Weight Squat
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For more information on the benefits of Stretching or for a consultation at the Kraus Back & Neck Institute please call:

281.44.NEURO (281.446.3876)