How to Do a Leg Press Machine Exercise to Build Lower Body Muscle

How to Do a Leg Press Machine Exercise to Build Lower Body Muscle
How to Do a Leg Press Machine Exercise to Build Lower Body Muscle

WHICH EXERCISE ALLOWS you to work with probably the most doable weight?

The deadlift or back squat may be the primary choices that come to thoughts, and these huge barbell actions are strong solutions. Both workouts practice your legs, utilizing the most important muscle tissues in your physique the place you will be your strongest, and function the standard barometers of general power. But increase your horizons to incorporate machine-based actions, and there is a simple reply to this query: the leg press.

The leg press affords exercisers an attractive proposition: Load as a lot weight onto the rig as you’ll be able to deal with, plop down into the seat, and push away. You’re not working with free weights, so in principle there’s a lot much less to fret about with regards to kind. But in actuality, you will want to know a bit extra in regards to the train—and the way in which your physique works—to carry out it as safely and successfully as doable.

Here, Men’s Health health director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., explains all the things it is advisable find out about what the leg press, which he calls “your strongest train.”

Benefits of the Leg Press

  • Work with huge weights
  • Less stress to CNS
  • Develop leg muscle and power
  • Good for inexperienced persons

The leg press means that you can practice your legs with heavy hundreds. You’ll be capable to work with greater numbers than your free weight actions (that means: workouts that use implements like dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells) for one easy motive: You’re not stressing your backbone.

“We’re eradicating one thing known as axial loading,” explains Samuel. “When I’m doing a squat or a deadlift, I’ve obtained all that strain from the burden and from gravity coming down on my backbone.”

Since your place throughout the machine does not drive you to assist the burden along with your backbone, you’ll pile on extra plates and use solely your huge leg muscle tissues. What’s extra, you will keep away from straining your central nervous system (CNS), which causes fatigue and would possibly restrict your potential to maintain pumping out reps sooner.

This place additionally makes the leg press a easy instrument for inexperienced persons. You’ll be capable to work with heavier weights extra shortly than the form-intensive free weight workouts. That stated, you should not completely skip these strikes (squats, deadlifts, lunges) in favor of the leg press; use the machine as a instrument to construct power to make your free weight workouts stronger.

Which Muscles the Leg Press Trains

The leg press is all about your legs (duh), so all the large muscle tissues in your decrease physique are concerned. That means the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You’ll additionally work the smaller supporting muscle tissues in your legs—however the huge ones would be the focus.

Who Should Do the Leg Press

  • Bodybuilders
  • Strength coaching athletes
  • Beginners

Since the leg press actually means that you can dwelling in on the legs and work with heavy hundreds with out specializing in the particular kind or operate of free weight actions, it is an incredible possibility for bodybuilders or anybody else whose predominant acquire is to develop their muscle tissues. That stated, Samuel says that extra functionally-minded power coaching athletes can use the leg press to overload their quads, glutes, and hamstrings, which is able to profit their different lifts and general power efficiency in the long term. As famous above, inexperienced persons will even profit from the dearth of axial loading as they construct power totally free weight actions.

How to Do the Leg Press

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The greatest mistake you can also make while you do the leg press, in response to Samuel, is just not approaching the machine significantly. You cannot simply sit down within the rig and anticipate to carry out effectively with out dialing in your kind. Think in regards to the leg press as a squat from a special place to start, then dial in on the shape.

Upper Body Positioning

Even in case your backbone is not underneath load, it is advisable keep higher physique and core pressure. Keep your torso engaged all through the motion—this may assist to keep away from any decrease again stress.

  • Grab the handles on the machine and pull your self down into the seat.
  • Squeeze your glutes to drive your butt down into the seat whereas partaking your abs to drive your decrease again into the pad.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and drive your neck into the pad, too.

Leg Position

Where you place your ft on the rig will rely in your desired stimulus and anatomical wants.

  • Place your ft on the sled. Aim for a place the place your knees are not less than hip-width aside to begin (though Samuel says you’ll be able to go wider as effectively).
  • The nearer you place your ft to the again of the plate (in close to your physique), the extra knee-dominant the motion can be, making it extra quad-focused. If you place you ft additional away, the motion can be extra hinge-dominant, that means it is going to be extra centered in your hamstrings and glutes.
  • If you are simply beginning out, place your ft usually within the center.
  • The leg press means that you can preserve your toes pointed ahead, which could not be an possibility while you’re squatting underneath a bar attributable to hip mobility constraints.

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Performing Leg Press Reps

  • Press by means of the sled along with your ft, sustaining pressure in your torso. Release the sled from the security lock, then management the burden down.
  • Watch your knees as you decrease the burden, ensuring you do not enable them to collapse or monitor excessively outward.
  • Lower down so far as you’ll be able to, sustaining higher physique pressure along with your again flush towards the pad. Don’t enable your butt to lift off the seat; for those who shift you’ve got gone too deep.
  • Press by means of the pad with each ft to lift the wait again up, extending your knees.
  • As you fatigue, Samuel notes which you could carry out reps inside a shorter vary of movement.

How to Fit the Leg Press in Your Workout

One of the perfect methods to make use of the leg press, in response to Samuel, is to push excessive reps and quantity. Consider a set-rep construction with three units of 15 to twenty reps. You can even do fewer reps with extra weight—simply do not attempt to max out the leg press, regardless of what Ronnie Coleman did.

Slot within the leg press because the third or fourth motion in a leg day exercise, particularly after you’ve got constructed up CNS fatigue with the large time free weight decrease physique workouts.

Headshot of Brett Williams, NASM

Brett Williams, a health editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT licensed coach and former professional soccer participant and tech reporter who splits his exercise time between power and conditioning coaching, martial arts, and working. You can discover his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and different shops.

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