Leg Press

The leg press is an exercise that trains your legs with the help of a machine.

The leg press does not recruit muscle fibres as efficiently as the squat, but it is the next best thing in helping you to train your legs.

Leg Press

Some people for whatever reasons may not be able to perform the squat, doing the leg press is a great alternative.

It is also a safer exercise to perform because unlike the squat, the leg press does not involve a weight being loaded on to your back.

Compared to the squat and the deadlift, the leg press only moves the legs leading to a strict focus on the thighs, hamstrings and glutes.

Benefits of doing the Leg Press

There are many benefits to doing leg presses.  These are health related benefits and performance related benefits.

Health Related Benefits:

  • Helps strengthen your leg bones, the tibia, fibula and femur to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.
  • Can be used to train one leg at a time to help correct any muscle and strength imbalances.
  • Suitable for people that want to train legs that have problems performing squats.
  • Fantastic rehabilitation exercise.
  • Gives your back a break from squatting.

Performance Related Benefits:

  • Can change foot positions in terms of width and height to change the muscles you want to train.
  • Training aid to improve your squat because the legs can lift more weight.
  • Improved strength and muscle mass in legs helps performance in other activities and sports that requires a lot of leg strength such as track and field, football, weight lifting and martial arts.
  • Helps you to jump higher and run faster.

Leg Press Technique (using a 45 degree leg press machine)

  • Sit in the seat of the leg press.
  • Place your legs on the platform using a width and height that is most comfortable for your body.
  • Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back and down.
  • Activate your core.
  • Push the platform with the heels of your feet and move the handles so that the platform can move freely.
  • Breathe in through the nose before you lower the platform.
  • Lower the platform low enough to keep tension on the thighs.
  • Once you are at the bottom of the movement, push the platform through the heels.
  • Breathe out through the mouth.
  • Once full extension is reached out the top of the movement, maintain a slight bend in the knees to maintain tension on the thighs.
  • Keep your knees in line with your feet throughout the whole movement.

Leg Press Dos

  • Use a full range of motion.
  • Keep your knees in line with your feet.
  • Have your backside maintain constant contact on the seat.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the knees at the top of the movement.
  • Push the platform through the heels of the feet.
  • Use the correct breathing patterns.

Leg Press Don’ts

  • Using an excessive range of motion that strains your lower back.
  • Using a small range of motion.
  • Training the ego instead of the muscle.
  • Having the feet placed too high on the platform.
  • Pushing the platform through the balls of the feet.
  • Using too much weight.
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