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Gym Exercises for Thighs

Barbell Squats

Stand in front of a barbell rack with a manageable barbell in place at chest height (select a barbell that you can comfortably lift 12 to 15 times). Duck your head under the bar to position it across your upper back and shoulders and firmly grasp it with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Position your feet at shoulder width apart and bend your knees slightly, then push up and step back to release the barbell from the rack. Bend your knees and push your buttocks back and down in a sitting motion until your thighs are almost horizontal. Push back up to straighten your legs. Avoid bending your knees over your toes and keep your back straight throughout the exercise. Perform 10 repetitions before returning the barbell back to the rack.

Standing Leg Extension

This exercise utilizes the cable pulley machine in the gym. Stand with your back to a low pulley around three feet away from it. Hook your left foot through the cable loop so that it rests around the middle of it and bend your right knee slightly to take your weight. Keep your thigh as still as possible at a 45-degree angle and extend your knee to bring your left foot forward against the pull of the cable. Once your knee is straight hold the position for two seconds, then bring your left foot back to the start position. Complete 10 repetitions with your left leg without putting your foot down then swap over to your right leg and do the same. To make things easier, hold onto a partner or another piece of other equipment to keep your balance. That will take some pressure off your core muscles.

Seated Leg Press

Sit comfortably on a leg press machine with your back against the back rest. Position your feet on the press pad shoulder width apart and hold onto the grip handles at the sides of your seat. Slowly push the pad away from you with both feet until your legs are almost straight with your knees very slightly bent. Hold the position for two seconds then slowly bend your knees to bring the pad back towards you. Repeat the exercise 10 times and avoid locking your knee or bringing them all the way up to your chest.

Seated Leg Curl

Sit on a leg curl (or leg extension) machine with your calves resting on the pad straight in front of you and your back against the back rest. Slowly bend your knees to pull the pad back and down under your thighs against the resistance of the machine. When you feel a pull across your thighs, hold the position for two seconds then slowly raise your lower legs back to the start position. To increase the intensity of the exercise, ask a member of gym staff to adjust the resistance of the leg pad.

Straight Leg Deadlift

Stand on a low step behind the bar of a smith machine with the weight locked in at upper thigh height. Grasp the bar with your hands shoulder width apart and your palms facing down and position your feet at hip width apart. Turn the bar towards you slightly to unlock it from the machine, then slowly bend your hips to lower the bar towards the top of your feet, keeping your legs straight. Bend at your waist to allow the bar to lower past your feet then slowly straighten back up to bring the bar back to the start position. Repeat 10 times. Start off with a weight you can easily lift 12 to 15 times to get used to the exercise, then progress up to heavier weights to increase the strain on your thighs.

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