- The leg press machine is a popular piece of gym equipment that can help build key muscles in your legs.
- There are two types of leg press machines commonly found in gyms: the standard horizontal leg press and the 45-degree leg press that has a seat that reclines at an angle while your legs press upward in a diagonal direction.
The leg press machine allows you to get the benefits of a barbell squat for developing the quadriceps. Secondarily, it develops the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and calves.
By varying your foot position you can emphasize different muscles.
It builds strength in these muscles and you can use it to overcome imbalances, such as when runners have more developed hamstrings than quadriceps.
Safety and Precautions
Avoid the leg press if you have weak pelvic floor muscles as it places a lot of stress on the pelvic.
Instead, do safer leg strengthening exercises as recommended by your doctor or physical therapist. You should not use this machine if you have a knee injury.
If one or both of your knees hurt, do not push through the pain. Pushing through will only cause injury.
This exercise can also place stress on your back, so it should be avoided if you have a back injury or back pain.
Like all exercises that use resistance machines, the leg press is sometimes looked down on by those who spend a lot of time in the gym because it is not deemed as effective as free-weights moves like the back squat.
But while there’s no doubt that that barbell move is one of the finest lower-body exercises around, this ignores what the leg press – and all resistance machine moves – can do.
Leg Press machine Pros
- Because resistance machines such as the leg press only allow movement in a fixed pattern, they’re great for beginners or people coming back from an injury, who need to master a correct and safe movement pattern before advancing to the more challenging dumbbell leg lifts.
- They’re also useful for people who want to isolate a specific muscle, in this case, the quads, hamstrings and glutes.
- That’s because the fixed movement of the machine doesn’t require the stabilising muscles – nearly always the weak link that limits the amount of weight that can be moved
Leg Press Cons
- Resistance machines don’t require the activation or engagement of any of the important stabilising muscles, which means using them at the expense of free weights can lead to muscular imbalances and an injury-prone body.
- With the leg press, while your major lower-body muscles will get thoroughly taxed, those crucial smaller supporting muscles of the hips, knees and ankles aren’t fully engaged, so they won’t be worked as hard as is necessary to develop all-round lower-body strength and joint and muscle stability.
Features & details
- DESIGN: Quad track roller system operates smoothly and distributes weight evenly
- FEATURES: Back pads utilize a quick flip-and-lock mechanism
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Heavy-duty 2 in x 4 in 11 gauge steel mainframe minimizes torsional flex for maximum strength and stability
- WEIGHT CAPACITY: 1,000 lb weight capacity
- DIMENSIONS: 83 in x 34 in x 56 in (L x W x H)
Three lockout positions are under the user’s control throughout the exercises and provide user safety and the option of different start/stop positions.
- Quadriceps. The primary target of the leg press is your quadriceps.
- Soleus and Gastrocnemius. The soleus and gastrocnemius muscles are the muscles that make up your calves.
- Gluteus Maximus. The gluteus maximus is a muscle in your rear thigh.
- Hip Adductors.
What is leg press good for?
So when you build multiple lower-body muscles using one exercise, your body rewards you with faster muscle gains. In addition to your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, the leg press machine is also great for your calves. They act as secondary stabilizers during the movement.
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