The leg press is a great multi-jointed exercise for the legs that can be used in conjunction with the squat or as a substitute for it in cases where lower back injuries may prevent squat execution. Because of the fact that your body is stationary inside of the machine simply pressing a sled, neuromuscular stimulation is not nearly as high as that of the squat but it still makes for a great leg exercise.
Time Required: 30-40 seconds depending on amount of repetitions performed and setup time.
- Using a leg press machine, sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance.
- Lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you (Note: Do not lock your knees). Your torso and the legs should make perfect 90-degree angle. This will be your starting position.
- As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle.
- Pushing mainly with the toes and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position as you exhale.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and ensure to lock the safety pins properly once you are done. You do not want that platform falling on you fully loaded.
- Caution: Call me extra careful but when I am done with a set I exit the machine by getting my legs out first to one side and then my body. I have seen cases where the safety locks have failed and the whole platform comes tumbling down. Luckily in none of the cases anyone was sitting on the machine but if somebody’s legs would have been inside the machine at the time a serious accident could have occurred. As a result, I exit the machine after every set.
- A shoulder width stance with toes pointed slightly out works best for stimulating overall thigh development.
- A close stance with toes pointed straight ahead works best for stimulating growth of the outer quad, better known as the vastus lateralis. Note: Next time you watch the Olympics check out the vastus lateralis development of speed skaters; due to the nature of their sport, they have these muscles well developed.
- A wide stance with toes pointed out at least 45 degrees out targets both the vastus medialis which is the inside head of the quadriceps near the knee and the inner thigh or adductor muscles.
What You Need
- Leg Press Machine
- Weight Plates