The leg press is an excellent addition to your leg workout. It’s assisted, so you can safely load it and squeeze out those last few reps on leg day!
How to use the leg press
There are two common types of leg press machine: A horizontal (pin) machine, or a ‘plate loaded’ 45 degree angle machine. You may also find a ‘vertical’ machine, but this is less common.
Whichever one you have access to will likely have instructions on it somewhere, so take note of those if you’re unfamiliar with how it works.
To begin with you should take your seat and place your feet firmly on the platform. Feet should be at around shoulder width apart. Select your desired weight (you’ll need to load before sitting on a plate loaded machine).
Take a deep breath in and brace yourself to move the load. Do this by either pressing out and back in, (pin machine) or, release the safety bars (plate loaded) and bring your knees into your chest. Push the platform away from you as you exhale. You should push out until there’s a slight bend in your knees. Go for reps.
Leg press: Common mistakes to avoid
Do not lock your knees on this machine, especially when it is heavily loaded.
Make sure that you push through your heels and not your toes when using the leg press for conventional purposes. (You may see people pressing weight through their toes, but this is a calf exercise and not the intended exercise as described above).
Work a full range of motion. The leg press machine is ideal for helping to improve your squat and as we all know, low squats are best. Therefore; if using the leg press for this purpose, you should make sure that your knees are coming close to your chest.
Reps and sets
Your leg press needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture. Note that it is best reserved for use towards the end of your workout. How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.
Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point. Don’t over complicate things early on, worry about laying a solid foundation and the rest will come with experience.
More advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.