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When it comes to your leg muscles, not all cardio machines are created equal. While almost any cardio exercise is good for your overall health, different workouts tax your legs in different ways. Depending on your specific goal for your leg muscles -- developing their endurance, avoiding injury or increasing their mass -- you will need to use the machine that best suits that mission. By establishing your goals for your leg muscles, you can proceed with a cardio workout that gets you to your goal in record time.
Cardio Machines for Muscle Endurance
If your goal is to develop your leg muscles for endurance and better overall fitness, your cardio selection will be basic. Because all cardio machines that involve leg movements help your muscles develop strength and the ability to move for longer periods of time, you can choose from almost any variety at your local gym and get started. Whatever cardio workout you enjoy and will do will help generate endurance in your leg muscles and increase your cardio capability. Keep in mind, however, that the more taxing the movement for your legs, the greater potential there is for muscle development. Consider running on the treadmill, taking a spinning class or climbing on the stair machine for positive results.
Cardio for Muscle Injury Prevention or Rehabilitation
Your cardio machine choice could be determined by the history of your leg muscles. If you've experienced a high level of injuries through muscle strains, pulls or tears or are rehabbing from a recent incident, you may not want or be able to use certain cardio machines. Machines that facilitate greater body support and less pounding will help you keep your cardio level up while lessening the aggravation to the area. Choose from the recumbent bike, elliptical machine or upright bike to keep your muscles moving without forcing them to endure a high level of stress.
Cardio for Leg Muscle Mass
If your goal for a cardio machine is to increase the size of your leg muscles, there are a few fundamental rules to follow. First, the resistance or incline will need to be higher than during a typical cardio workout. These elements engage more of the leg muscles and force them to work harder against greater force. Along with a strength-training regimen, you can incorporate stair climbing, inclined treadmills or bikes and ellipticals set to a high resistance. However, keep in mind that cardio burns more calories that will need to be replaced for your muscles to grow in size. Be sure to recover with proper nutrition after each cardio workout to help the muscles rebuild.
Cardio Considerations and Tips
When choosing a cardio machine for your leg muscles, be sure to consult with your physician, as he may have cautions or tips based on your specific condition. If you've had previous muscle injuries or are recovering from a recent incident, seek the advice of a physical therapist or orthopedic doctor for specific workout plans that can help you recover properly. When beginning a new cardio program, avoid taking on too much too soon, as this can lead to burnout and, for the best results, incorporate your cardio training into a healthy lifestyle that involves a balanced diet, strength training and proper rest.