The decline leg press machine is found in most gyms.
When using machines for thigh and the calf muscle development, you will achieve the best results with the decline leg press or horizontal leg press. While a decline leg press machine is more commonly found in gyms, both machines offer a double benefit by working your thighs and calves simultaneously.
More Bang for Your Buck
Usually, when you train your legs, you need to use separate machines to target both the calf and thigh muscles. However, the leg press allows you to work both muscles without having to switch or relocate to a different machine. Most leg press machines have a foot plate that allows you to place your feet in a proper position to perform calf raises. This gives you the opportunity to concentrate training in the two areas of your leg.
Consider Safety, Comfort and Intensity
The leg press is an especially useful machine because it provides three aspects that some other styles of training do not - safety, comfort and intensity. Leg press machines are easier and safer for exercisers than other devices that work the thigh and calf muscles. Barbell squats require more attention to form and technique, for example, while the standing calf raise machine can be uncomfortable on your shoulders due to the pressure from the pads. The leg press machine helps to stabilize your back and avoids putting pressure on your shoulders or neck.
Optimize Your Leg Press
The most common type of leg press machine found in gyms is the decline leg press. The horizontal leg press is also common in many gyms. For both types of machines, you perform the exercises while seated in a slightly reclined position. The machine works the quadriceps muscle in your thigh and the gastrocnemius and soleus, or your calf muscles. The machine also works your hamstrings - the muscles in the back of your thigh - and your gluteus maximus, or butt muscles. You can emphasize different muscles depending on how you adjust the angles of the backrest and foot plate as well as the position of your feet.
Follow a Sample Routine
To sculpt your thighs and the calves, select a weight that will allow you to perform no more than 12 slow, controlled presses. After completing the 12 repetitions with your legs extended, carefully step your feet toward the bottom of the foot plate, shoulder-width apart, with only the top portion of your feet resting on plate. Because your calves require a higher repetition range to get proper results, aim for 20 to 25 repetitions of flexing and extending from your ankles. After completing this, rest for 60 to 90 seconds. Perform five sets total.