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Regain Muscle Mass in Your Legs With These Machine Exercises

Build back that lost lean muscle mass.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

The loss of lean muscle mass is, unfortunately, a natural occurrence as you grow older if you're inactive. A decline in muscle strength and power is also not uncommon, which is why you need to do everything you possibly can to preserve what you've got. In addition, losing muscle mass in your legs could be due to illness and injury. Depending on what your circumstance may be, there are opportunities to build back that lost muscle mass. We're here to help with the best machine exercises to regain muscle mass in your legs, so listen up.

Eat This, Not That! chatted with Sergii Putsov, Head of Sport Science at Torokhtiy Weightlifting, Ph.D. in Sports Science, Personal Fitness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Gym Co-Owner, and former professional athlete with a Master's degree in Olympic and Professional Sports Training, who shares go-to exercises to add to your workout ASAP. If you want to regain muscle mass in your legs, keep reading to learn more. And next up, don't miss 6 Everyday Habits To Regain Muscle Mass After 60, Fitness Expert Says.

Smith Machine Squats

woman performing smith machine squats

"Smith machine squats are one of the most basic leg exercises," Putsov explains, adding, "This variation is safer and simpler than traditional squats in terms of balance and technique. They target your quads, glutes, hamstrings, core muscles, and calves."

To set yourself up at a Smith machine, be sure that the bar is at the right height so you can comfortably place it onto your trapezius muscles. Position your feet slightly forward, and when you're stable, lower yourself down into a squat. Go down as far as you're comfortably able to without hurting yourself before rising back up to the starting position. Aim for three to four sets of eight to 10 reps.

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Leg Press

mature woman demonstrating leg press exercises to regain muscle mass in your legs

Next, Putsov suggests the leg press, explaining, "[This] is another effective exercise that takes extra load away from your back and is more gentle for your knees. You can find machines with different angles, but they all work similarly."

After setting up the machine with a weight you can safely handle, but will still give your legs a good workout, Putsov instructs you to place your feet on the machine's platform. Then, use your legs to both lower and press up the weight. You can vary the exercise by positioning your feet in different ways. For instance, if you assume a wider stance, then it will put your inner thighs and glutes to work. A narrow stance will put your outer thighs and quads into action. Perform three to four sets of eight to 10 reps.

Leg Extension

leg extension machine, man demonstrating how to regain muscle mass in your legs through machine exercises

When it comes to the leg extension, Putsov says it's stellar at targeting your quads, which sounds ideal when you're aiming to build muscle mass in your lower section.

To begin, sit down at the leg extension machine. Set up the proper amount of weight for your current abilities. Then, get settled in the machine, and begin to stretch your legs. While you do, you'll feel the weight creating resistance. After fully extending your legs, lower them back down to the starting position in order to finish one rep and begin the next. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

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Leg Curls

leg curls

Next up, we have leg curls, which will really activate your hamstrings.

Working in much of the same way as leg extensions, leg curls will have you lying face-down instead of sitting up. You'll also start with your legs extended behind you. In order to lift the weight, you'll simply need to bend—or curl—your legs up toward your body in a smooth and controlled manner before lowering them back down. Be sure to focus on your hamstrings while performing each movement. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Calf Raises

man on calf raise machine at gym

If you don't have access to a machine, then calf raises can be done while holding weights. However, doing calf raises in a machine can certainly kick your workout up a notch.

Select a weight you feel comfortable with before situating yourself on the machine. Make sure your legs are stable. Next, raise your heels up, and keep them in that position before lowering them back down. As always, do your best to use a controlled motion, and don't rush yourself. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée