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The leg press machine is an effective alternative to barbell squats.
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Your largest groupings of muscle are in your legs and chest area, so it's important to work these areas regularly. Men tend to focus on building massive pecs and arms, while overlooking the muscles in the lower body. By following a workout plan that includes both chest and leg exercises, you can ensure you're exercising the upper and lower body equally. The benefit of exercising the chest and legs in a single workout session is that many of your smaller secondary muscles are worked as well, such as your triceps, abs, glutes and deltoids.
A quick and challenging chest and leg workout uses just two bodyweight exercises: pushups and squats. The entire workout takes less than 10 minutes, so it's an ideal choice when time is limited. You start by doing nine pushups followed immediately by doing nine bodyweight squats. Return to the pushup position and this time do eight pushups followed by eight squats. Follow the same pattern all the way down to one repetition of each. In all, you'll do 45 pushups and 45 squats. You can make it more challenging by starting at a higher number, such as 10 or 12, and working your way down from there. Do one or two more complete sets for a more intense workout.
At the Gym
You can do the same workout at the gym with a few slight variations. You'll once again use one chest exercise and one leg exercise, but you have a choice of which ones. For chest, choose either the barbell bench press, pec deck, dumbbell flyes or chest press machine. For legs, go with barbell squats, leg press, dumbbell lunges or Smith machine squats. Perform the same chest-and-leg routine as before using a resistance level that is high enough that the final rep of the first set is difficult to finish. Since you're using added resistance, take 10 to 15 seconds of rest between each of the nine sets if needed. Each time you do this routine, use a different combination of chest and leg exercise to challenge your muscles from a slightly different angle.
If you're looking to really build strength and power in your chest in legs, go with a split routine. The goal here is to overload your muscles until completely fatigued using heavy resistance and several different exercises targeting the specific muscle group. This training plan splits your chest and leg workouts into two separate days, resting at least one day between the two. Choose three chest workouts, such as bench press, dumbbell flyes and chest press. Do four sets of eight repetitions for each of the three, making sure to rest about 90 seconds between sets. The final rep of each set should be tough to finish; that's how you know you have the right amount of resistance. On your legs workout day, target each major muscle in your legs using squats, calf raises, leg extensions and leg curls. Again, do four sets of eight reps for each exercise. With this plan you'll exercise the chest once per week and your legs once per week; the remaining days you'll need for recovery.
Avoid exercising your chest or your legs two days in a row. These large muscle groups need rest to recover properly. The optimal workout schedule if using bodyweight exercises or light resistance is to exercise three days per week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for example. For heavy-resistance training, your muscles will need longer to recover, so exercise your chest one day, rest for two days, and exercise your legs the next day.