- Body & Gym Posts
- 19 Nov, 2019
The leg press is very similar to the squat when you look at the way you move your body and the two are often compared. You use the quads, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and calves, almost every leg muscle. The implementation is also fairly easy with the leg press, making it easy to complete sets with a high number of repetitions. The leg press therefore has many advantages where we here go a little deeper into it.
- Place your feet (slightly outwards) shoulder width against the platform. If you put your feet wider you put the focus more on your gluteal muscles and hamstring while you use the quads more the narrower you place your feet.
- To avoid knee injuries, make sure that your knees point in the same direction as your toes, and point them towards your shoulders as you bend them.
- Place your back straight against the backrest and keep your buttocks on the seat, otherwise you could overload your lower back.
- Push the weight away with your heels and not with your toes.
Because you can move relatively high weights with the leg press, people quickly use too high a weight, and this does not benefit the execution. Make sure that you use a full range of motion (ROM), even with a high weight, and that you keep the tension on your muscles.
- Lower the weight as far as possible, but keep your buttocks on the seat.
- Do not lock your knees but keep them slightly bent so that you do not overload them and there is constant tension on your muscles.
- Make sure there is tension on your muscles when you lower the weight by doing this in a controlled manner.
Squat vs Leg Press
Many people prefer to do a leg press than a squat because the execution is easier and you can move more weight. However, the tension on your leg muscles is comparable in both exercises, despite the difference in weight. You also activate your entire body when squatting, and only your legs with the leg press.
The leg press has the advantage that you do not lose strength to stabilize your body, so you can usually complete more repetitions. It is of course good for your body to train your stability and coordination, but if we look purely at the muscle growth of your legs, the leg press is an advantage here. However, this plays a lesser role if you control the execution of the squat.
You can also very well place both exercises in your training schedule, and you will activate your leg muscles sufficiently in both exercises to see results.
With the leg press you can push the weight in three different directions: vertically upwards, diagonally upwards with an angle of 45 degrees, or horizontally. When choosing one of the three, it often comes down to personal preference.
45 Degrees Leg Press
This is the most commonly used form of leg press. It is easiest to keep your back straight and to use a full range of motion.
Vertical Leg Press
With the vertical leg press you lie flat on a bench and push the weights up vertically. Because you lie flat there is no seat, so your hips tilt forward faster. This makes it more difficult to keep your spine straight and you can therefore sustain injuries faster. With this variant, however, you directly press against gravity, which means that in principle you lift heavier. The Smith machine is often used when a vertical leg press machine is missing.
Horizontal Leg Press
With this variant you can move the least weight, and it is the most difficult to achieve a full ROM. This is because you cannot 'drop' the weight until you have a complete repeat, and you are dependent on the position of your seat. However, with a correct version, this variant is simply equivalent to the other two.