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TofuToeBucket's avatar

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Just a quick question. I work my legs once a week at the gym, but I never do squats. Instead I would do leg presses and all that. Mostly exercises on machines. Anyway, can your legs still get bigger from just doing exercises on machines?
TofuToeBucket
Just a quick question. I work my legs once a week at the gym, but I never do squats. Instead I would do leg presses and all that. Mostly exercises on machines. Anyway, can your legs still get bigger from just doing exercises on machines?


When you use machines, it takes away the need for all the little stabilizer muscles in your legs to work. In order for them to grow and get stronger, you need to do free-weight exercises where they are helping you keep correct form and balance. Your major muscles will still develop well using only machines but you likely won't get the same results as compared to including free-weight exercises to work those smaller stabilizers.
Adolph Rayner's avatar

Dapper Hunter

Well you don't have to. Squats aren't a requirement to big legs. The quads will respond to exercise, whether it's on a machine or not. I'll lay it out

- With squats, you work more muscles and have a greater range of motion but you usually can't put on too much weight and traditional squats place a train on your back.
- But with leg presses, you can use more weight and there is a lot less strain on your back BUT your range of motion is limited and so are the muscles you work.


Regardless, you can't expect to see any gains using either unless you progressively add weight to the exercise to force your body to adapt.
So if you have back problems, maybe you should lay off the squats for now. If not, no excuse not to do them. Maybe you can alternate between the leg press and squats every week.
Yes, working your leg muscles is going to grow your leg muscles. However, might I say to start doing squats. Because a weighted squat is practically full-body workout. You get your legs, your lower back, abs, and shoulders. Right now my back hurts more when doing squats than my legs.

However, you can grow your leg muscles by working out each individual muscle.
I do squats and leg press on my leg day. I use both free weights and machines.
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TofuToeBucket
Just a quick question. I work my legs once a week at the gym, but I never do squats. Instead I would do leg presses and all that. Mostly exercises on machines. Anyway, can your legs still get bigger from just doing exercises on machines?


You can see results from using machines but you will see overall more mass and anabolic effect on your whole body if you do squats because they are much more taxing on your system as a whole. Do the squats but make sure you do them correctly and understand proper form to avoid injury and get the benefit of the exercise.

Really what it all comes down to is your effort. If you know what you are doing and are willing to put in the hard work and push yourself to the limit, you will get big no matter what machine or exercise you're doing. People like to argue about which exercise and routine is better but I know guys who used "sissy methods" and got much bigger than the squatters and deadlifters just because they were willing to take the pain more than the guys who profess to know so much about lifting.
For myself, I do a lot of squats, I use to do more leg press back in my High School football days but now as an Officer of the Law I see squats effects more for my job duties. I still do leg press but I focus on squats. But over the years I have increased my mass as well, I did this with supplements but I gained bigger and more muscular legs on the leg press.
The leg press is useful if:

-You're a more advanced bodybuilder looking for additional quad-only mass. AFTER you've got big legs from squatting.
-You have flexibility issues that keep you from training the squat
-You're injured
-You don't have a calf machine at your gym.

they're not that great for all-around work because:

They neglect most muscles besides the quads. There's a few muscles in the legs, noticeably your butt muscles, hamstrings and hip adductors that are not effectively trained during the leg press, but are well trained in the squat, and make a huge difference to both the circumference of the thigh, and your ability to apply your leg strength to do most things.

Additionally, when working the quads in conjunction with your hamstrings as in the squat, you're protecting your knees from one-sided strain that can be bad for the joint. If you use the leg press exclusively, you can get injured.

99% of the time, people receive better results from squatting *intelligently* than from any sort of attempt to combine isolation work into the same thing.

If you can squat 3 x 5reps 2-3 times a week, you're probably saving time and getting better overall strength and size results than any number of leg press sets followed by hamstring curls followed by glute-ham-raises.
THE SQUAT

Down this road, in a gym far away,
a young man was heard to say,
"no matter what i do, my legs won't grow"
he tried leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses , too
trying to cheat, these sissy workouts he'd do.

from the corner of the gym where the big men train,
through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain
where the noise is made with big forty fives,
a deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees.
a very big man with legs like trees.

laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack
chalking his hands and monstrous back,
said, "boy, stop lying and don't say you've forgotten,
the trouble with you is you ain't been SQUATTIN'. "
Pilfered Milk, that was awesome, please post again some time smile
TofuToeBucket's avatar

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Pilfered Milk
THE SQUAT

Down this road, in a gym far away,
a young man was heard to say,
"no matter what i do, my legs won't grow"
he tried leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses , too
trying to cheat, these sissy workouts he'd do.

from the corner of the gym where the big men train,
through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain
where the noise is made with big forty fives,
a deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees.
a very big man with legs like trees.

laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack
chalking his hands and monstrous back,
said, "boy, stop lying and don't say you've forgotten,
the trouble with you is you ain't been SQUATTIN'. "
I must admit. This was fantastic.
Cold Youth's avatar

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Machines feel a lot easier, and though use of them is good, its better to mix up your leg routines. Weighted front and regular squats, lunges, calve raises and such will benefit you much more than just use of the machine. Even if you start off light as, its still a start smile .

I'm not an expert in body building or anything, I'm just going off my thoughts and experience as a fellow gym-goer. (Could be false, etc).
Squats make your a** look great.

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