Muscles Used • Exercise Type • Form Instruction • Tips and Techniques • Recommended Reps • Common Variations • Substitutions • Equipment Needed
See all the exercises at the:
Weight Training Exercises Database
– 45 Degree Leg Press –
Compound Exercise, Push Movement
Adjust the seat so that your hips don’t move forward when the legs are pulled in. This can cause low back strain. Do not let the back curl up, keep it straight against padding. Keep the majority of the platform pressure on your heels.
Tips and Techniques:
Do NOT lock out your legs at the top. Control the weight as it comes down, don’t let it drop on you.
The standard positioning of the legs is about shoulder width apart. However, if you experience discomfort here (any knee pain), try slightly wider or narrower stances. While the leg press is often prescribed for those with knee problems, it can present knee problems itself. It’s a machine built for everyone, so look for comfort first when choosing foot placement.
It isn’t a hard and fast rule but shorter people with shorter legs often find a narrower stance more comfortable while taller people prefer a wider stance. But, we are all unique.
The positioning of your legs may affect the emphasis of the secondary muscles involved (see Common Variations below).
While the leg press is a solid exercise and good quad builder, it is not an exercise you want to substitute for Squats exclusively.
Squats provide additional benefits towards your muscle building goals (increased CNS stimulation = more muscle gain, more accessory muscle involvement and increased functional strength to name a few). Unless you have “real” back problems preventing you from squatting, the leg press should be used as a supplement to squatting, not a substitute.
Unfortunately, many beginning trainers fall in love with leg presses and seem to forget squatting altogether. It is understandable. Heavy squatting is grueling while the leg press can feel like like exercising in a La-Z-Boy. If the machine had a cup-holder for your umbrella-drink you’d be in paradise, wouldn’t you?
Non-serious lifters also tend to get unduly impressed by the amount of weight they can move on the machine. They like to brag about it. Most famously in weight training circles, Madeleine Albright and Pat Robertson have been known to boast about their leg press prowess. In terms of strength, that probably isn’t the kind of company you were hoping to put yourself in when you begin training?
So, to keep yourself from being a joke to the serious trainer, keep in mind that the 45 degree angle you are pressing on means that the machine is supporting half of that amazing poundage you are pushing.
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.
- Narrow-Stance Leg Press – May bring calves more into the exercise.
- Wide-Stance Leg Press – May bring glutes and hams more into the exercise.
- Seated Leg Press – Seated straight up and pushing the weight directly forward
- Vertical Leg Press – Lying on your back and pushing straight up
The ultimate substitution is the basic Squat. If you can squat, you squat. Machine-Based Hack Squats may be the best machine-based option you have for a substitution. Heading to the free weights, in addition to Squats, you have Hack Squats and Front Squats (barbell rests on the front delts).
Leg Press Machine
Couple more articles you may like…
6 Top Muscle Building Methods For Workout Routines (and More)
Learn how and when to use the top muscle building methods of workout routines -from single-sets to pyramid sets and more advanced methods.
Choosing The Right Program (to Catapult Yourself To Big Muscle Gain)
Find out how to pick the right program for you based on your training level.