Leg Press

The leg press is a machine-based body-building movement that makes the thighs work (more precisely the vast external and internal, the crural and the right anterior). It requires almost the same muscles as the squat.
There are two device configurations. In the mainstream press, the practitioner sits in a slanted seat, feet on a cart loaded with discs, and pushes it back by stretching his legs until they are almost stiff, before lowering him in a controlled manner. As for the second model, the practitioner takes his position in a sled declined (connected to a pile of weight) in front of a fixed platform.
The thigh press is a bodybuilding movement that allows the lifts of a large load (world record 1,300 kg six times by Morgan Aste)

Why do we do leg press?

This bodybuilding exercise is very effective for bodybuilding practitioners who want to develop and increase muscle definition of the anterior part of the thighs, and the gluteal muscles. With the heavy load, this machine also increases their forces which is crucial to lifting and squatting powerlifting, as well as the snatch and the shouldered and thrown in weightlifting.

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How to make a leg press?

  • Sit on the machine seat by placing your feet on the platform and spacing them approximately as wide as your shoulders. You should feel that the pressure is spread over the entire surface of the soles of the feet.                 
  • Hips and back against the backrest, unlock the platform with the handles near the seat. Then, completely stretch the legs, but without locking them. This is the starting position.
  • Inhale by flexing your knees to descend the platform (slow to moderate speed) until you reach an angle of 80 to 90°at your knees (measured angle between the back of the calves and the knee). Back of the thighs).
  • Push the load (platform) with the heels towards the starting position while exhaling.
  • Inhale and repeat the movement to make the desired number of reps.

5 training tips

1 – To help prevent back injuries, do not let your knees come too close to the chest during the descent phase. The closer your knees are to your chest, the more likely you are to round your lower back, which will increase disc pressure and the likelihood of injury.

2 – If possible, you can place your feet higher or lower on the platform to look for different sensations. It depends on your flexibility and how your knees and lower back can handle stress. If you place your foot at the top of the tray, you will further activate the hamstring and buttocks. If the foot is at the bottom of the plateau, the quadriceps will be solicited more strongly

3 – Many leg presses adjust the tilt of the seat, but tilting too low can cause you to slide out of the seat when you push the platform with your legs. A very firm position on the machine is very important to perform the exercise properly and reduce the risk of injury

4 – Do not completely lock the knees at the end of the extension. This can lead to hyperextension and injury

5 – Compared to the squat-free bar, the thigh press can take a heavier load, in some cases, more than double what you can take squat. Be careful not to get stuck under the thigh press at the end of the series. If possible, get help with the heaviest loads.


Exhale on the descent. Inhale and block your breathing during the push to stabilize your rib cage and gain strength.

Safety instructions

The thigh press is particularly suitable for people with back pain or those who do not wish or can not perform the exercise of the squat. Nevertheless, some essential points are to know to avoid being hurt:

1. Do not arch your back and do not take off the buttocks in the bent leg position. The back remains pressed to the back and will not move during the execution of the movement. It is only the lower limbs that come into action.

2. Do not lock your knees in the extended leg position. When you fully extend your legs to the incline press, the entire load is supported by the knee joint. Eventually, you risk the injury!

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So I advise you of these products that you will need in this sport:


As seen above, the position of the feet on the platform is the first variant to the thigh press.

  • To further strain your quads, place your feet at the bottom of the board or tighten them in the middle.
  • To focus on the hamstrings and glutes, place your feet at the top of the tray.
  • Finally, to further target the adductors, spread your feet, pointing outwards.

In addition, the inclination of the backrest is adjustable on most inclined presses. Feel free to vary the positions to further solicit your quadriceps or hamstrings.

Finally, why not make the press inclined on 1 leg?

To strengthen your thighs, you can also leave the press aside to direct you to other complementary exercises, such as:

  • Squat sumo, to strengthen your adductors.
  • The squat before, to change the traditional squat.
  • The Hack Squat, to strengthen quadriceps and glutes.
  • Slots, to solicit your legs and your glutes.
  • The dead-lifted legs, strengthen your hamstrings.

Targeted muscles

The vast us external, the vast us intern us, the crural, and the anterior right is solicited. The thigh press requires to a lesser degree the extension of the hip which involves the action of the glutes and schizos.

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