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The way to Do a Leg Press Machine Train to Construct Decrease Physique Muscle

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

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

The leg press provides 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 are not working with free weights, so in principle there’s a lot much less to fret about relating to kind. However in actuality, you may want to grasp a bit extra concerning the train—and the best way your physique works—to carry out it as safely and successfully as doable.

Right here, Males’s Well being health director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS, explains all the things you must find out about what the leg press, which he calls “your strongest train.”

Advantages of the Leg Press

  • Work with large weights
  • Much less stress to CNS
  • Develop leg muscle and power
  • Good for freshmen

The leg press means that you can prepare your legs with heavy hundreds. You can work with larger numbers than your free weight actions (which means: workouts that use implements like dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells) for one easy purpose: You are not stressing your backbone.

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

Since your place inside the machine does not pressure you to help the burden together with your backbone, you can pile on extra plates and use solely your large leg muscle tissues. What’s extra, you may keep away from straining your central nervous system (CNS), which causes fatigue and would possibly restrict your capacity to maintain pumping out reps sooner.

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

Which Muscle groups 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. Meaning the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You will additionally work the smaller supporting muscle tissues in your legs—however the large ones would be the focus.

Who Ought to Do the Leg Press

  • Bodybuilders
  • Power coaching athletes
  • freshmen

For the reason that leg press actually means that you can residence in on the legs and work with heavy hundreds with out specializing in the particular kind or perform of free weight actions, it is an incredible possibility for bodybuilders or anybody else whose most important acquire is to develop their muscle tissues. That mentioned, 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 total power efficiency in the long term. As famous above, freshmen may even profit from the dearth of axial loading as they construct power free of charge weight actions.

The way to Do the Leg Press

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The largest mistake you can also make if you do the leg press, in response to Samuel, isn’t approaching the machine critically. You may’t simply sit down within the rig and count on to carry out effectively with out dialing in your kind. Take into consideration the leg press as a squat from a distinct place to start, then dial in on the shape.

Higher Physique Positioning

Even when your backbone is not underneath load, you must preserve higher physique and core pressure. Maintain your torso engaged all through the motion—it will assist to keep away from any decrease again stress.

  • Seize 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 participating your abs to drive your decrease again into the pad.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades and drive your neck into the pad, too.

Leg Place

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

  • Place your ft on the sled. Purpose for a place the place your knees are at the least hip-width aside to start out (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 shall be, making it extra quad-focused. In case you place you ft additional away, the motion shall be extra hinge-dominant, which means it is going to be extra centered in your hamstrings and glutes.
  • In case you’re simply beginning out, place your ft typically within the center.
  • The leg press means that you can preserve your toes pointed ahead, which could not be an possibility if you’re squatting underneath a bar because of hip mobility constraints.

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Performing Leg Press Reps

  • Press by means of the sled together with your ft, sustaining pressure in your torso. Launch the sled from the protection lock, then management the burden down.
  • Watch your knees as you decrease the burden, ensuring you do not permit them to collapse or observe excessively outward.
  • Decrease down so far as you’ll be able to, sustaining higher physique pressure together with your again flush in opposition to the pad. Do not permit your butt to boost off the seat; in the event you shift you have gone too deep.
  • Press by means of the pad with each ft to boost the wait again up, extending your knees.
  • As you fatigue, Samuel notes which you can carry out reps inside a shorter vary of movement.

The way to Match the Leg Press in Your Exercise

The most effective methods to make use of the leg press, in response to Samuel, is to push excessive reps and quantity. Contemplate 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, it doesn’t matter what Ronnie Coleman did.

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

Headshot of Brett Williams, NASM

Brett Williams, a health editor at Males’s Well being, 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 operating. You could find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and different shops.

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