If they are performed in a fashion that is recommended in the principles of fitness training and in combination with the correct diet plan and supplementation program, both women and men alike can achieve outstanding results!
Even though 'compound' exercises are the best exercises to perform, 'isolation' exercises also have their place. Isolation exercises provide mainly cosmetic benefits because they work muscles through a greater range of motion around a single joint. The isolation leg exercises include: leg extension, leg curl, stiff-legged deadlift, hip adduction, standing calf raise, seated calf raise.
The best leg exercises for women to perform, the compound leg exercises, involve the quadriceps (front of thigh), the hamstrings (back of thigh) and the glutes as the 'prime movers' (the main muscles involved in the exercise).
The calves and in some exercises, the lower back, may also be involved as 'synergists', muscles that assist the prime movers in performing the exercise.
Posture and balance are of paramount importance when performing the compound leg exercises to ensure maximum safety and training benefits.
The free-weight exercises tend to provide greater functional benefits compared to the machine leg exercises and the back squat is considered to be one of the best leg exercises, but it is also considered to be the king of all weight training exercises and therefore should be incorporated into a training program as often as possible.
For all of the leg strengthening exercises you should perform the movements slowly and emphasise stretching of the muscles against resistance where possible. By doing so, the muscle fibres are broken down more, which stimulates more muscle growth.
It is also seems to be beneficial to use a higher rep range when performing the best leg exercises (20-25 reps). One theory suggests that it is beneficial because the legs are further away from the brain and perhaps have less nerves innervating groups of muscle fibres, however, this has yet to be proven.
It is important not to neglect these quick leg toning exercises in your workouts even though you may think that you already have well-developed legs or that you think that you don't want to get big legs.
One of the reasons why the lunge exercise is one of the best leg exercises is simply because of the eccentric loading it places on the muscles of the thigh. This contributes significantly to greater muscle stimulation.
Since they are the largest muscle groups of the body they have an enormous 'indirect effect' on the rest of the body. This means stimulus for growth can occur in other muscle groups throughout he body as well because of the impact training these muscles has on the production of anabolic hormones in the body.
Furthermore, a muscle stimulus does not necessarily translate into muscle growth. There are several other factors that determine whether a muscle will grow or not. Nutrition and recovery are just two examples. Therefore, if you don't eat more food, your muscles cannot grow bigger, period!
So get in the gym and use these leg strengthening exercises to your best advantage. They really are the best leg exercise for women to perform!
For more detailed information on how to perform these exercises correctly, get a copy of Weight Lifting For Beginners. It will provide you with all the information you need in order to get the best results possible in your workout routines.
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