Isolation Exercises for Particular Muscle Groups in Your Legs

Sure, it’s important that you go with total body workouts often. Workouts and exercises that involve multiple muscle groups are simply more efficient. Lots of gyms, like Mountainside Fitness, offer classes that include total body workouts.

But plenty of people often focus too much on the upper body, such as when they lift weights. If you work out, you should also make sure you don’t neglect your legs.

And you may also notice that you need to focus on particular muscle groups in your legs. If you have a particular weakness in these areas, then you can perform specific exercises that are designed to work those particular areas in your legs.

For the Calves

These include 2 major muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. You’ll find this muscle group at the back of your lower leg. These are the muscles you need for plantar flexion, which is when you extend your foot down away from the body when you’re running or jumping.

Seated Calf Raise

This is a popular option for calves, and it mainly focuses on the soleus muscle because of the angle you use when you’re performing the movement.

Standing Calf Raise

This will complement the seated calf raise nicely. The involved movement hits at the calves at a different angle, and this time it mostly focuses on the gastrocnemius muscle.

For the Glutes

The glutes refer to the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles in your buttocks. The gluteus maximus helps with the hip and thigh movements, while the gluteus medius muscle allows you to have a steady walking gait.

Barbell Hip Thrust

This is an excellent exercise for the glutes, using a loaded barbell (usually with padding). Set the barbell over your hips while you brace your back against a low flat bench. Do the required hip thrusting motion for the number of reps and sets you need.

Cable Pull-Through

You can alternate this exercise with the hip thrust, or use it when you don’t have a barbell available. This uses a low cable to which you set a rope attachment. Set your back to face the weight stack, and then grasp the rope with your hands between your legs.

Rest your hands on your thighs and thrust the weight, and you should notice your glutes contracting.

Barbell or Dumbbell Walking Lunge

This is a great option to really work your glutes, though it also works on other muscles groups as well.

To do this, you can set a loaded barbell on your back, or grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Then you perform a lunging motion as your glute muscles contracts.

For the Hamstrings

The hamstrings are located at the back side of your legs. You may often hear about professional athletes sidelined by hamstring injuries. It’s an important muscle group as you need it to flex your leg at the knee joint. It also helps in extending the hips.

You can work on your hamstrings with exercises that involve pulling and hip-hinging movements.

Leg Curl

This is perhaps your best bet when isolating the hamstrings. You can do this seated or lying down. It also involves a weighted pad set just below your calf muscles and curled in towards your legs.

Romanian Dead Lift

This is mainly about targeting your hamstrings, even though it also works other muscle groups. You’ll need to hold dumbbells or a weighted barbell while you bend at the hips and you have a slight bend at your knees. This should stretch your hamstrings nicely.

Glute Ham Raise

This has to be included here, since it’s quite well-known as a functional hamstring builder. If you’re an athlete who tends to injure their hamstrings too easily, then you can strengthen your hamstrings with this exercise.

For the Quads

You’ll find the quadriceps on the front part of your thighs. This is the muscle group that helps with the straightening of the knee joint. You target the quads nicely with exercises that involve leg-pushing movements.

High Bar Squats

If you want to focus on the quads, set the bar a bit higher on your back. Adjust to a narrower stance as well.

Leg Press

Again, you should narrow your stance a little bit. This exercise is a good alternative to squats, especially for newbies.

Front Squats

This time, you set the bar just above your clavicle (collarbone). This placement puts the center of gravity forward, so that the quads are the muscles you mostly use for this exercise.

Final Words

Even if there’s a description here on how to perform various exercises, you’re better off visiting YouTube. Just look for demonstration videos of how to do the exercises you’re including in your workout.

Better yet, get a personal trainer if you can avoid it. The personal trainer can confirm if you need to actually target a particular area of your body, and also identify which exercises will work best for your situation. They can guide you on how to do the exercises correctly, and make adjustments if you make mistakes.

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